Saturday, November 3, 2012

Who were we?

You were…
sending me down 

the fine line between 

what you are and 

all that you claim not to be

I was...

right about all I feared

all the blanks now filled

leaving you as I knew

you would leave me

We were...

occupying empty space

with shoddy lighting

dark enough for mystery

lit enough for an effortless escape

Now we are...

what we've always been

and will never be

fighting harder won't

and you my friend, can't.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

To the boys of my past.

To all my ex-boyfriends (with one know who you are),

Thank you.  No really, I mean it!  Thank you for the MANY lessons you taught me.  Sorry I left you, although I know we both agree it was for the best.  

It was so important for me to know you, and love you, and leave you.  Although it was never my intention, finding out you were not the one for me was perhaps the best clue I could find along the maze of finding out who I am.  As you are well aware, that has been the hardest thing about "growing up."  Amongst the infinite choices of who to be, where to go, what to do and how to do it, I have often times found myself completely overwhelmed with the endless decisions and commitments to be made.  Although confident I would be successful at each chosen endeavor, my satisfaction with the choice was always the wild card.  

At this point you're probably nodding your head and getting increasingly irritated.  But before you get too pissed, know I'm not talking about you...entirely.  It's true that you did pursue me.  It's true that I was uncertain.  It's true that most of the time I was playing catch up.  But while I was trying to learn about you, and beginning to see the beauty and warts that you posessed, I was also trying to navigate my youth.  Chances are, you arrived at precisely the moment I needed to choose the next turn in my life.  I blame boundary issues for letting myself be distracted by you.  Perhaps I would have been able to sense out the inherent shortcomings between the two of us if I had not been so busy navigating the roller coaster of my twenties (and, briefly, teens).

I asked my boyfriend what he expected "me" to be like (the hypothetical me, that is).  He said he had no preconceptions, other than that "I" be smart.  He just waited for it to feel right.  Initially flabbergasted,  I felt defensive towards the serial monogamy that litters my history.  But then I realized, that the sense he was using to filter out the ones that came before me, was exactly the sense that it took me all this time to develop.  I may have been great at managing my finances.  I may be as clean and organized as they come.  I've owned a condo, travelled the world and partied like it's still 1999.  But when it came to interpreting my heart, I was as clueless as they come.

I met you, I liked you, or at least you piqued my curiosity.  I thought I'd like to know more.  You thought you were in love.  And the relationship floated on at its own leisure from there.  This is not to say I did not love you.  I did.  

It's just that your ultimate contribution to me has been to help me develop that sense.  You took a funnel that was far too expansive and helped me whittle it down to a size that somehow located my partner and only let him slip through.  

From you I learned that I loved:
  • reading your poetry and learning how to drive a stick
  • watching you surf, line-dance and drive motorcycles in nothing but board shorts
  • talking for hours about everything from politics to pot
  • being showered with gifts of thoughtfulness and goodies
  • letting you be my tour guide and finally be able to let go of the wheel for awhile
  • embracing my cowboy roots
  • spooning
  • playing house
  • being best friends and playing together

From you I learned that I hated:
  • being talked to like an idiot
  • dealing with a family that acts like a jealous girlfriend when you hang out with your girlfriend
  • watching you kill yourself as you continued to add new addictions to your laundry list of bad habits everyday 
  • not being able to talk about what's really going on
  • having to dumb down the conversation to help you keep up
  • hearing you were a wreck of a person and that I should steer clear, but I should have listened anyways
  • being suffocated and that if you love me after 3 days, that's fine.  But if you can't stop yourself from telling me after 3 days, that I should
  • watching movies
  • trying to invent chemistry where there was none to be found
I could go on.  But we already know that long, drawn out story.  Suffice it to say:

You walked away.
You hid.
You chased me off.
You continue to push me away and pull me back.
You are done.
You are a parent.
You are a monster.
You are a friend.
You want the best for me.

We did the best we could.  We were not right for each other.  We learned these mistakes and truths together.  And all of these little and big discoveries while time consuming and, at times, painful, combined to form the tapestry that finally provided me with a clear picture of the kind of man I wanted to join me through this maze we call life.

And now here I stand.  Finally free from your ghost.  Finally content, with that sense and knowledge that the one I'm with is the one that I can stay with; the only one I want to be with.  And I know I would never have found him without you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you.

Thank you,
Shea Marie

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dad and his hobbies.

My Original Valentine

It's Valentine's Day and I'm thinking of my father.  Sound strange?  Clearly you don't have a father who has sent you flowers every year of your life with the same succinctly sweet card.

 Delivered early this morning at work, 2/14/11

Don't get me wrong, I've had my fair share of Valentine's.  And I have one I love dearly today.  But what could be sweeter than a bouquet reminding me that as 30 draws near, I'm still Daddy's little girl?  To be honest, there was one year that the flowers failed to come.  It was my freshman year of college and I had the sort of Valentine that you knew was going to give flowers, just to start.  And while this may make me sound quite spoiled, I was still disappointed after a day of gifts, poetry and jewelry.  Where was my bouquet from Dad?  So I called to investigate.  Dad said he figured I didn't need flowers from him since I had a Valentine this year.  

"But Dad, no boy can replace you!" I exclaimed.  Twelve years later, no one has and the flowers are still coming.

Meet you at the Mountain

My dad and I don't talk a lot.  But we stay close because we spend time together.  Lucky for both of us, his hobbies have become my hobbies over the years.  Once upon a trip to Red Robin, his good luck led to a free trip to Snowbird and an immediate love affair with skiing.  Mom and Dad returned and promptly got my sister and I up on the mountain.  Sixteen years later, we're still spending the winter in the snow.

There are days that all we do is sing along to Fleetwood Mac on the way to the mountain, sit peacefully on the chair lift on the way up and rip down the trails.  The most talking occurs during lunch at the Bullwheel while dad munches on his chicken strips.  Sometimes we're cursed with rain, ice or wind.  But we never leave the mountain feeling cheated.  

Dad still boasts an edge on me.  While I was stuck in Texas during college he was racking up the miles on the mountain.  But what I may lack in form, I make up for with youthful legs.  So we make a good match as we make our way across the slopes.  And although we may stay pretty quiet, at least once a day "Chantilly Lace" is sure to come on my ipod and we begin the duet, regardless of who shares the chair with us.  "Oh baby that's what I like!" (And of course, hopefully my sis is there giggling and singing too!)

Honestly, I've only gone skiing a couple times without my Dad.  It just doesn't seem right without him!

Take me out to the ballgame

Several years before the skiing began, Dad took his lifetime love of baseball to the next level by beginning to buy 20 game packages to Mariner's games.  My sister and I never played baseball outside of p.e.  But starting around 4th grade, my mom, sister and I would trade off as dad's date to the Mariner's games.  My sister got all the signed balls as she was still a cute little toddler when we first began frequenting the Kingdome.  I was there with dad when Martinez hit that famous double that still chokes me up to this day.  I was there for the last days of the Kingdome and the first days of Safeco.  I've eaten more than my fair share of hot dogs and Ichirolls.  I was there for the Neihaus memorial and I'll be there next season.  It's been over 20 years of (mostly) losing seasons and my parents are still some of the most avid fans I know, commuting to the games come wins, losses, rain and sun.  Lucky for me, I finally live in Seattle so I can walk there after work to meet them!

I've had months worth of first-base-line excitement and it's all thanks to my parent's love of baseball.

Last year we even got to go to Arizona to Spring Training!  All thanks to my parents!  I finally caught a ball (and an immediate crush on their short-lived first baseman) and we watched Griffey hit a walk off Grand Slam for what turned out to be the only victory of the week.  Nevermind the losses, we had a great time "Stuntin' like my Daddy!" as he took us out to the ballgame.

Are you ready for some football?

One of Dad's interests that has certainly taken over a big portion of my heart is football.  Despite many years without cable, I've maintained my love for Monday Night Football.  I used to get back from swim practice right around 7 and plant myself in front of the fire and tv.  Dad had both going and Joe and Al spent the evening with the family.  The last few years Monday Night Football has turned into an all day Sunday event, Monday and if I'm lucky Thursday too (I'm sorry Chris, I don't see it getting any better next season!)!  Dad's taken me to several games.  Like the picture below.  We were lounging around in our pj's on a lazy Sunday when dad asked me if I'd be interested in going to the game in an hour!  So we threw on our gear and hopped in the car.  And naturally, the last game of the season was my Christmas present to the parents this year!

Cowboy take me away

My sis and I have some serious cowgirl in us.  Although our parents only had us in Eastern Oregon for a handful of years, the rodeos stayed an important event in our family.  It's not all about horses and bulls.  The Fitzgerald family has a long history of bringing the ruckus to the rodeo.  Now that my sis and I are finally "of age" it has been so fun to enjoy these rodeos with dad.  It's not often that you get to see him "let his hair down".  But over the last couple of years we've been privileged to cheer, dance, strut, chug, hiccup, giggle, laugh, guffaw and hurl together.  It wasn't all pretty, classy or appropriate.  But it was ALL worth it!

Sister's graduation and Stockshow in one wild weekend!
 2010 Pendleton Roundup Centennial

Wasting away again in Margaritaville

Perhaps the most important hobby that Dad gave me was a love of music and concert-hunting.  My sis and I often speak of the Sunday afternoons filled with house-cleaning and Journey.  When the speakers were still taller than us and the bass filled our bellies as we sprawled across the floor.  The times when tapes were training me to have the well-rounded and excellent taste in music that I have today.  You don't agree?  Just ask my sis, mom or dad?  Music has always been there.  Through cleaning, road trips and choir concerts.  All those drives to Eastern Oregon and back to Oly had more singing than talking.

My sis and I went to our first concert when I was no more than 8.  Jimmy Buffet at the Gorge!  That was the first of nearly a dozen Buffet concerts that our parents have brought us to.  Perhaps the first time I returned the favor was the summer of 2000 when I brought my dad to his second Eagles concert.  That 30 year anniversary tour at the Gorge was rivaled only by his first time seeing them during their first tour!

 Fleetwood Mac (for the second time) on my 28th birthday

Father Figures

It scared me to think about writing about my father today.  How to summarize a lifetime of support, guidance and good times?  How to explain what he's meant without exposing this reserved and gentle giant?  The answer that felt best was to show you how we've spent our time.  My parents have instilled in me that there is no greater gift you can give than your time.  Over the years I've made it my goal to buy experiences for gifts rather than golf balls.  Those times when I can help to create new memories to add to the volumes that they've brought to life for me.

So I guess I'm not writing about my dad so much as I'm writing about OUR hobbies.  All of the ways that you think you'll never end up being like your parents can be so surprising.  To find myself in a job so similar to my father's despite swearing off architecture years ago.  To catch myself quoting him to make my point.  Well, I guess that's how it goes.

But if we're destined to follow in our parent's footsteps, how luck am I to have parents who have lived, and continue to live, a life that anyone should be so lucky to lead.  For you will never meet two more down to earth, honest, reliable and loving people in your life.

Love you guys!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

To those on stage

Last night I saw Ween at the Paramount.  And may I say, fucking wow!  And I'm not sure I even like them.  But wow, they are a talented bunch.

I've been going to concerts for over 20 years and would consider myself a veteran.  It's become quite a hobby for me.  I've always found people's hobbies to be interesting.  Of all of the infinite choices of things to do/see/eat/experience how did you arrive at that interest?  Additionally, I could drive myself crazy pining after all the interesting things I'd like to be doing, especially in a city like Seattle.

So why concerts?  Why have I spent so many thousands of dollars on a couple hours of entertainment with varying levels of obnoxious fellow guests, lines, waiting, standing and waiting and then waiting some more when it's all over and I've forgotten half (who am I kidding, way more than half) of the playlist?

  1. I am completely addicted to music.  There aren't more than 2 waking hours in my day that don't involve music.  Headphones on the walk to work, headphones at work, repeat, music during dinner and jukebox if I happen to hit a watering hole.
  2. Living history.  Seriously.  I'm tired of politics.  And museums don't really do it for me.  But watching the Eagles at the Gorge on their 30th anniversary tour with my father who was there for their first tour, well seriously, that's historic.  Or when Tom Petty announces an honorary band member of the Heartbreakers who's been with them since the 70's and Stevie Nicks floats across the stage, where else would I want to be?!
  3. If you can't be one, join them!  I was in choir for much of my primary education.  I LOVE to sing.  Sadly, my love for singing is not matched with talent.  Plus, I would hate to be famous.  But oh how I love to sing along with those beautiful and talented voices.  I will never forget the Summer Nights on the Pier with my sister and the Indigo Girls.  As the sun sets the crowd matches the volume of the songbirds on stage and we all finish the song together.  They sigh and say that it was the best crowd singing they'd ever heard.
  4. Inspiration meets lost opportunity.  You would never know it, and I have no evidence it exists.  But the writing I could do to "cover" these concerts would surely be my best work.  If only I'd had paper, or taken the time to stop singing along and record some thoughts on the symbolism, set list and scenery.  But then I'd miss that drum solo...
  5. People watching.  Hello!  So many lesbian make outs at Lilith Fair!  The most ridiculous parrot head costumes that you'll see in a couple hours on the Parrot Head fan cam on the screen behind Jimmy Buffett.  The people too drunk to sing and too drunk to stop.  And for Ween in particular, the most ridiculous hippy/hipster dancing you can imagine.
  6. Spending quality time with a life partner.  I have to admit, I don't really like much of Dave Matthews and Ben Harper's new music.  And sometimes I have to take a couple months or years of sabbatical from them.  But in the end, I always return to their sides.  Some songs, I can tell you for certain, will be in my life forever.  No one can take Live at Luther College away from me.  No one except for me knows who I'm longing for and mourning the loss of when "Ghost" crosses the playlist, but I'd like to think the Indigo Girls are right there with me.  So even though I've seen G. Love half a dozen times, I'm still going to show up to reconnect and spend some quality time with him before he heads to Fargo (seriously, who goes from Boise to Fargo and skips Seattle?!).
  7. Dance, dance revolution.  Seriously, when else do you spend 3 straight hours dancing and singing?  Some would say at the club I suppose.  But if you know me at all you know how agitated I get waiting in line and paying to go to a glorified bar.  Not going to happen.  Plus, chances are, you're with likeminded people at the concert who are also in love, or at least interested in courting the artist on stage.  So I can jump up and down at a rock concert, sway at a slow jams show and get my groove on at hip hop shows.  And luckily, most people have their eyes on the stage so I can convince myself that I'm mostly being ignored...thankfully.

Monday, January 10, 2011

To those I've envied...

It can happen anywhere, at any given moment.  And you're especially prone if you enjoy people watching. The opportunity exists on tv, magazines, sidewalks, parties, and facebook.  Every where I go I find myself watching for clothes, pets, houses, cars and relationships that I would like.  You look at the context, the cues and the "results" and you think, "if I had more of ___ or less ____ I could have _____."  Some days, when I've spent WAY too much time perusing the electronic lives of others I get a really bad case of the "poor me's".  How can I not?  Just look at how much fun she is having on vacation and look how clever he is.  Look how cute they are together and what a nice job she has.

When you encounter someone that has that boyfriend that yours should learn from, or the apartment that I should move into, we make such a snap judgement on ourselves, and on them, that what they've got tops what we have.  I don't know about you but I am definitely prejudiced about these judgements.  I don't spend a lot of time trying to find the exceptions or the subtleties that might render my reality preferable.  Nope.  They're luckier, happier, better.  From the slightest comment or the one "telling" photo, I can conjure a whole biography of this lucky person.

So maybe that's a human condition.  Maybe we all tend towards envy.  So what?

Well today I'm thinking of those that I've envied whom I later changed my mind about.  These people stand out.  In particular the friends, or mutual acquaintances that you have over the years.  You know them well enough to have a pretty full picture of their life.  In a relationship for 4.5 years, two dogs, a condo on Capitol Hill and a degree from....  They may dress better than you or have more well-shaped opinions or whatever.  And you appreciate them while you envy them.

But then one day you get the call, or read the posting, or stumble into one of them alone in the grocery store.  And it becomes clear that she got laid off and he's dating a 19 year old and the whole world you had painted as their thumbnail is no longer...or never was.  Sometimes, these moments provide so much information that you learn that most of that thumbnail was just your own projections of what their life must be based off....what?  Their clothes?  Their soundbites?  Whatever it is that we base our value judgements on, the person that we've decided has it all and then some was really just like us all along.

Or maybe they weren't.  Maybe they didn't have it half as good as I do.  Why now am I just considering all that I have going for me?  Regardless, I am.  In the wake of another's tragedy I am reminded just how much I have to be thankful for.  Envy seems so silly!

How many times have you been appalled by the reality of someone you thought you knew?  I bet you've got a really awful story conjured up already.  People who personified what you view as normalcy until you found out about their parents, or their secret hobby.  Yes, I know it would be more exciting if I gave an example.  But honestly, you get the point.

So today I'm suggesting we stop being so hard on ourselves, and on our little corner of the world that we call our life.  Let's be proponents.  Don't feel guilty being honest about how amazing your dog really is (Burton's the very best and YOU know it :-) and how well your boyfriend treats you (every single day).  Not because it might make someone envious of me, but because my envy doesn't get to eat at me today.  Today I will instead be nourished by my own reality.  No hollywood actress gets to walk anonymously down the waterfront and slip quietly into a warm apartment that holds two creatures that think you're the coolest chic on the block.  No amount of designer clothing will beat the sweats and boyfriend T-shirts I'll relax in as I eat my 5 star dinner prepared by my A+ boyfriend.

Not only does this appreciation make me happier, it also enables me to bestow the appropriate appreciation on those in my life that make it such a wonderful place to be.  And I hope it's not too much of a stretch to hope that it makes those around me who find themselves in a less than ideal situation believe in the possibility of a better future.  Not out of envy, but hope.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My lil Jojo...

I have a Jojo.  Do you?

Jojo is a girl that I have "known" for the better part of a decade but didn't have the occasion to really know until I moved to the Eastside of Oly.  Thanks to friends of friends, we occasionally get the accidental introduction to someone whom fits so well into our lives that you wonder how it's possible that you've only been friends for a short time.

While it's only been a year, I can tell you volumes about my Jojo.  I won't.  I know she wouldn't approve.  So let's stick to the highlights...

First of all, I should confess that she's not actually my Jojo.  Just a brief perusal of her facebook page reveals that there are many who claim her as their own Jojo.  This tells me so much.  I may be her Sheabird.  And my dog is her Lil-bubble-gum-nosed-Burtie.  I could go on with her other petnames but you get the point.  Suffice it to say that we all love our Jojo and our petnames...and I'm not usually one for pet names.

Jojo loves.  Jojo gives.  Jojo feels.  And Jojo tells.  I always thought that I wore my heart on my sleeve.  I was wrong.  Jojo has shown me what that term actually means.  The honesty and pure, visceral, emotion that she wears openly not only impresses me but endears her to me.  How many of us can openly own up to our foibles?  What about those daily little reminders that to err is human?  Or those moments when humility is the only option?  Personally, these realities of the human experience tend to be the ones I fight hardest to hide.  Am I dishonest?  Nah.  Mostly just too prideful.  But Jojo appears fearless in her willingness to share these deeply human moments.  And it seems from the responses that are posted, that I'm not alone in the relief and wave of relatedness that others experience in her wake.

I'm thinking of this, and my Jojo, as I try to wrap my brain around what it is to blog.  How to blog openly and meaningfully while navigating those walls and fences?  How honest is it safe to be?  How much can I share without regretting it?  Am I dodging this curve ball by following the inclination to write about those I love best?  I guess the best answer I can hold up to these questions is that the people I'm hoping to showcase here are the ones who have taught me the most about myself.  For it is safe to say that most of my existence has been enriched, supported and illuminated at the hands of those whom have shared themselves with me.

Jojo came into my life just weeks after it last imploded on itself.  I was still in the throws of an unmarried-divorce, unpacking in my tiny hole of an apartment.  I was still giving myself license to burn the candle at both ends as I worked and drank myself through the wreckage and reconstruction.  So it was that I had my first girls' night with her and our mutual friend, Janelle.  At first I figured it was the jager bomb that was loosening my lips as we had those initial conversations.  Now I know it was just the comfort that I feel in sharing the worst and best parts of my life with her.

Over the proceeding months I was fortunate to have a Jojo to sit with me on a broke-down balcony overlooking a parking lot, or in a kiddy pool in the front yard or in a booth at a downtown bar, and sift through the bits and pieces of our past and present to try to determine how in the hell we both got here and where the fuck we wanted to go next.

It wasn't purposefully or perfectly synchronized, but we both ended up taking flight near the end of that long year.  Unfortunately for me, she went South while I went North...literally, not figuratively :-)

There are only a couple people I miss in Oly and she is definitely one of them, although she no longer resides there.  But I now have the distinct pleasure of watching electronically as she takes flight.  I hope that she knows that while this Sheabird, and many other petnamed-pals are aching for her presence, that we all are first and foremost cheering and pushing her forward.  After many years of being the anchor for so many, she is now sailing on unknown seas.  And I've been there...haven't you?  It's scary as hell and every day is torturous and spine-tinglingly exciting.

I hope that the heart she's carrying on that sleeve of hers is able to absorb all that's bombarding it while protecting her just enough to keep her sweet, happy and honest.  Because wherever she may go, we all still need to know our lil Jojo is there.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Today is the first day.

I've been writing my whole life.  But today is the first day I'm going to publish these thoughts.  Some of you may remember a little notebook with poetry on half the pages, and an invitation to leave your comments on the adjacent pages.  I look at those comments with amusement and bewilderment.  Did I really share those early musings with you?  Did you really take the time to read them?

It's been years since I shared my writing on a wide scale.  Since then, the pages have grown exponentially with the audience shrinking at an equal, though inverse rate.

So if she's going to speak, she better speak now.

I'm at work and I'm thinking about my grandma.

Grandma Helen is changing every day.  She's so tiny now.  I don't know how to talk to her as well as I used to.  And lately I find myself stumbling across more and more reminders that I need to stop letting that stop me.  This woman, this lynchpin of the family, will not be with us forever.  But she has been with me every day of my life thus far.

She loves Monet.  And when she could still see, she loved to paint her own flowers.  Although I rarely painted with her, my sister was more up to that task, I remember sitting with her on the deck at our old family cabin while she painted and I wrote.  She may have been the first person I shared my poetry with.  I know she was the one to encourage me to start a poetry journal.  She's been the one constantly reminding me of the power my words could have ever since.

I didn't inherit her artistic skills, but I do share her love of Monet.  So when I moved to Paris to study for the Fall semester of 2002, I took it upon myself to absorb the impressionist era in a way that she would never be able to.  When I wandered the train station of Musee D'Orsay, I carried her with me in my heart.  When I drug my pajama-assed self to Monet's house one lazy Sunday morning, I asked my friend to take a picture of my haggard self in the doorway for my Grandma.  And the print I purchased was naturally for her.

When I got back from traveling Europe the day before Christmas, I went straight to my Grandma's side to begin recounting my adventures.  Christmas morning I gave her that print of the lily pond that she loved best.  It hung in her living room hall from that moment on.

It's probably my favorite gift I've ever given my grandma.  Although I'm sure she'd say the medals from swim meets were hers.  I loved walking into the house and seeing that common interest adorning her antique house.  I was grateful to know that I was able to carry out the adventure that she was never able to have.

When Grandma's husband of the better part of a century died, the reality didn't really set in until the time came to start cleaning out their house.  The house that had held all of my Christmas mornings, and all of my father's.  The house that had the grandchildren picture wall, the graduation picture wall, and the wedding photo wall that I now realized I would never join.  Grandpa is gone, and now Grandma sleeps across the pasture in her daughter's den.

The Monet needed to be adopted.

Grandma encouraged everyone in the family to take what they wanted.  I resisted.  I waited several visits before I actually put on the lens of a pillager in that old house.  The Monet was waiting patiently for me when I gingerly removed it from it's rightful home.  Grandma insisted I take it.  But what I wanted most was for it to be with her.  Removing it and relocating it to Washington meant only one thing, that "Grandma's house" was no longer hers.

The house still stands, it still houses the Christmas socks and the relatives that fill it up for that crazy weekend.  But it no longer houses my grandma at sunrise in her rocking chair gazing out contentedly on Mt. Emily.  It no longer houses her ham noodle soup or the mac and cheese she would make just for me. And so it no longer houses my heart...or her art.

It's easy to push these realizations down.  She's still here with us.  I still get cards from her, the only hand written mail I'm likely to receive all year.  She's still sitting quietly somewhere in the madness of the family gatherings.  So I can continue to act as if she'll always be there.

But I received two reality checks this month.

1. My younger cousin is engaged.  He is ready, and she is amazing and I'm happy for them both.  But the strangest thing happened when I found out.  I cried!  And I cried even harder when I saw the pictures of them telling Grandma of the good news.  The best I can explain it is this way; I'm the first one in the family to not get married in chronological order.  Which doesn't really matter at all.  And I'm completely happy where I'm at.  But the thought of not having my grandma there the day I do say "I do" came crashing down on me following the news.  Next I imagined the children I might someday raise that will not know her.  It's the only regret I have for taking my time growing up.  Silly I know.  But being a 29 year old kid hasn't really affected me negatively in any other respect.

2. I rescued the Monet from storage last weekend.  We hung the print last night.  The nails were too high and the wall too small.  So when we took it back down to rearrange I got the chance to see the sticky note that Grandma had affixed to the back of it.  She noted the day it was hung.  The grand daughter who brought it to her.  And several other adorable factoids that she had the foresight to record for my sake in the future.

My first reaction was admiration.  Grandma was already planning on handing down her belongings and wanted to make sure the meaning of her belongings was not lost....and it wasn't.  But wait!  There was another note!  In a plastic case at the top corner of the frame was a folded note.  This note included similar facts but also a secret message to her second granddaughter reminding her how special she is.  Yup, that's the kind of grandma I have.

My eyes filled with tears as I read the note to Chris.  He just smiled and said "You are very special to her."

This I've always known.

I take a sigh of relief reminding myself:  She's still here, she's still around.  I knew in that moment how awful it will be the day that I can't say that.  The future moment when I'm reminded how wonderful she was.  The glimpse of the future that I needed to make sure I embrace the present.

This note also reminded me how much I share with this wonderful woman.  Across our tiny little living room hangs a frame that I folded a note to years ago.  It's a poem.  I think she'd approve.