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Sunshine
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Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
Posts 67715
Listening to every heart


325 posted 03-18-2004 07:57 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Darn the Cpat...but we've good memories, don't we, ladies?

May I add another?  I see Ser’s foot is still tapping…

[Blame the pregnant thoughts on Ser….]

Jumping around and ahead, to 1972.  Summer, and I had been a wilted transplanted flower in Illinois, needing so much to get home, and see the family, and feel the air of California.  In our little valley in Santa Maria, we were, for the most part back then, smog free, with ocean breezes cleaning out the smog on it’s way in each night.  Mom and Dad sensed my needs, and sent plane fare – for one.  Which was all right, as I was working, and had vacation time coming; and the ex finally had a job…and couldn’t get away.  My brother was graduating…and it promised to be a good time.  It was June…and I was three months pregnant.  I think Mom and Dad wanted to see their little girl once more before they saw their daughter’s little girl…

The day before graduation, my brother, so tall and gangly at 18, accepted the watch from Mom and Dad with a sense of…loss, I think.  As in what now?  I knew the feeling.  Then, the next day, my brother’s graduation day, we received an emergency phone call from one of Dad’s brothers in LA.  My father’s oldest brother Frank had gone into the hospital after he fell ill in the hay fields.  They learned that the hay dust had coated his lungs, and he was rushed in for surgery.  

My Uncle Don continued, “he was doing good Bob…he came out of surgery just fine.  In fact, he was even teasing the nurses, and irritating Selma with his jokes.”  

I was on the second phone – I was waiting to tell my uncle hello…Dad had motioned me to pick up the receiver.  So I knew what Uncle Don was telling my dad.

“It was a blood clot, Bob.  It went to his heart.  He died last night.”

My own tears had started by now.  Uncle Frank was the one uncle I knew who loved my dad’s kids best, and of all of my dad’s family, he was the one I knew I would go to if I ever needed someone to fill in for my dad.  

And then I saw my Dad’s face.

I never saw my dad in gray before.  He was a tall, handsome, deeply tanned man, having spent many years outside working construction.  Now I was looking into a gray face.  Mom had come in to the kitchen as we hung up, my Uncle Don saying he’d call back about getting the California contingent of family members to South Dakota on a flight in the next few hours.  We had a lot to do.  

Dad basically fell into the kitchen chair, put his head in his hands, and sobbed.  I had never seen my dad cry before.  Mom was frantic – she had no idea what was going on.  Dad couldn’t talk, and through tears, I tried to explain what had happened to our Uncle Frank.  The man who, after their father walked out, basically became my dad’s surrogate father.  The man who, when dad reached 18, and the two younger girls could take care of themselves, moved my dad out of South Dakota and to California, where they started a small construction business, together.  The man who accepted my mother into their family.  The man who, to a little girl, helped her father hang the stars and moon, and smiled his huge smile, so that I knew to whom I was related, and that I wasn’t something found under a cabbage patch leaf.

Mom teared up, too, but both of us were concerned about Daddy.  He had never cried in front of either of us before, and he couldn’t seem to stop.

Things whirled after that; we rushed Dad’s packing, got him to the airport, where he left to join the others in Los Angeles.  

The next day, the California brothers, Uncles Don, Al, and their wives, my father, and a nephew, Robert [we have a lot of Bob’s in our family] left for South Dakota.  The funeral would be the next day.

In South Dakota, we have family everywhere:  Pierre, Lead, Harold, Rapid City.  The plan was to leave Rapid City, and meet everyone in Pierre.  During the funeral, there were storms everywhere…and especially in Rapid City.  They had been having rain for a few days in that part of the state…and suddenly, we heard on the news…the town of Rapid City was flooding.

Flash floods.

This was in the days before cell phones, let alone touch tone phones.  I remember thinking I was going to wear my finger away with the rotary dial phone we still had in the house.  We kept trying to reach people…until the lines went down.  We sat and prayed and worried.  We didn’t know if our family members were going to be caught in the floods, or if they were safe.

When the family could get to phones, the next day, June 11, Dad asked if I could stay over a few days longer.  I made arrangements with my job, and we turned in the return ticket for a new date and time.  Daddy came home to the biggest hugs.

He related the horror of the flood.  They had all gotten back to Rapid City during the worst part of the flooding.  The men all went to help those who were in the way of the moving waters.  Daddy met a man who had gone out to rescue a little girl, and when he turned around, his house, and family, were gone.

Dad was rather spiritual at times.  He said there was probably a reason his brother Frank had died when he did.  Dad wouldn’t go in for the fact that a blood clot had taken his older brother, with no good reason.  Dad always believed God worked in mysterious ways.  The brothers that had all gathered had formed a Rilling Rescue unit of sorts, and spent a full day helping those who had lost so much.  The ones that lived in South Dakota kept up the work, while the ones from California had to catch the plane home.  But they had all pitched in, one more time, as the family they were.  And Dad had heard that Uncle Frank had died in his sleep, with the nurses having laughed and joked with him just before he went to sleep that night.  He had been happy, moments before he was gone.  That settled well with my dad.
quote:
On June 9-10, 1972, extremely heavy rains over the eastern Black Hills of South Dakota produced record floods on Rapid Creek and other streams in the area. Nearly 15 inches of rain fell in about 6 hours near Nemo, and more than 10 inches of rain fell over an area of 60 square miles. According to the Red Cross, the resulting floods left 238 people dead and 3,057 people injured. In addition to the human tragedy, total damage was estimated in excess of $160 million (about $664 million in 2002 dollars), which included 1,335 homes and 5,000 automobiles that were destroyed.  Runoff from this storm produced record floods (highest peak flows recorded) along Battle, Spring, Rapid, and Boxelder Creeks. Smaller floods also occurred along Elk Creek and Bear Butte Creek.

Excerpted from http://sd.water.usgs.gov/projects/1972flood/

When Dad put me on the plane to return to Illinois the next day, he told me he was glad I stayed for his return.  And for the first time, he verbally told me he loved me.  He was all action, that man, and few words.  But when he did speak them, they settled deep…

And they stayed forever.

garysgirl
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326 posted 03-19-2004 07:31 AM       View Profile for garysgirl   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit garysgirl's Home Page   View IP for garysgirl

Awwww, Capt. Ron, I looked and ooked for the story they were talking about you writing....then I saw where you had  said that you deleted it. I'm sorry that you felt you needed to erase it, but I do understand. Sometimes I reveal more than I want to.

And, Susan? I don't smoke anymore and haven't since 1976....but my lungs don't know that. I used to get so mad at my Mama for fussing at me because I smoked. I loved the taste of the tobacco. Even after all these years, I sometimes crave a cigarette. The only eason I don't smoke now is that I just know that if I started smoking again that I would never quit this time. And, I honestly don't think my lungs could take it with this COPD and asbestosis that they have to cope with.
garysgirl
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327 posted 03-19-2004 07:35 AM       View Profile for garysgirl   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit garysgirl's Home Page   View IP for garysgirl

Folks, I really do need to get some sleep. I haven't been to bed for two days for some reason. I went to sleep in the chair for a little while early last night, but haven't been to bed all night...again. I've got a terrible migraine headache.
vlraynes
Member Rara Avis
since 07-25-2000
Posts 9136
Somewhere... out there...


328 posted 03-19-2004 02:36 PM       View Profile for vlraynes   Email vlraynes   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit vlraynes's Home Page   View IP for vlraynes


Capt Ron?... just have to tell you that
I did see your story before you deleted
it... and it truly touched me...  

Thank you for sharing that piece of you,
even if only for a short while...

And, Karen?...you know I'm smiling at
your 'mom' story... and I just absolutely
LOVE that pic... your happiness just spills
out of it...smile...

And, btw...I haven't forgotten that I
promised you another story... It may take
me a little time...but it will come...

Thank you for not letting me off the hook...smile...
vlraynes
Member Rara Avis
since 07-25-2000
Posts 9136
Somewhere... out there...


329 posted 03-21-2004 10:02 AM       View Profile for vlraynes   Email vlraynes   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit vlraynes's Home Page   View IP for vlraynes


Where did everybody go?...

Someone tell me a story, please?...
Nightshade
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just out of reach


330 posted 03-21-2004 02:28 PM       View Profile for Nightshade   Email Nightshade   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nightshade's Home Page   View IP for Nightshade

Okay Vicky.  
   I was just having a memory to-day as I sat in the car listening to the radio while my hubby was inside paying for the gas. When I was little, my Mom and Dad had a friend who not only had a television variety type show, but also was a dics jockey on the radio. Well I was always thrilled to be around him, and his family. I thought he must be just soooo famous. He must be at every big time event, rubbing shoulders with the likes of (back then), Dinah Shore, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee....and so on. It must have been wonderful!! lol.
  It wasn't till much later that I found out..and I am actually embarrassed to admit this in a way, but, I was so disappointed to be told, "no, the singing stars did not go to the radio station to sing their hits." Lol....duh. It was records! Reel to reel tapes! I thought with my child's innocence and sense of imagination, that they all just lined up and sang at a microphone. After all, there were "live" singers at shindigs that my sister and I performed our magic act at! And, there were "real" singers on television - even though it was kind of snowy...the black and white images.
  You know.....it really left me feeling not only dumb....but that wonderment and awe that I had been feeling for so long whenever this man visited or even called on the phone was chipped. He, was just a man. He didn't know "stars." But, on the other hand I have to thank him for giving me abit of stardust in my eyes. To be a child again and just believe that anything is possible. Ahhh.
Hugs All !!  
Dark Angel
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since 08-04-99
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331 posted 03-21-2004 04:26 PM       View Profile for Dark Angel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Dark Angel

Hi all, Just want to say that I've been around and I've been reading and you're even more lovelier. Thank you for sharing your stories and memories. Karen, thanks for the invitation to come join and perhaps share.

Well Nightshade sparked a memory just now...
talk about "stardust in my eyes"

A man did that to me when I was just a little girl...he was actually related to my Mum. Anywhoo we were at a wedding back in the early seventies heh where everything in those days was black and white and I'm not just talking about the photo's either. I remember this man standing in front of the band  (he didn't belong to it) and I remember eyeing him from his shoes to his hair lol. I was only 5 or 6 no older so of course I started at his shoes...and I was fascinated by him. Then he began to sing...oh god his voice. I at only 5 or 6 suddenly fell in love with him, he at that time was probably around 25 years... a handsome young man with thick black hair a black suit with a white crisp shirt and a ...yes you guessed, a black silk cravat.
I remember not being able to take my eyes of him.. I was frozen.. I remember this day like it was yesterday...his voice just embraced me, I wanted to marry this man when I grew up. heh.
Anyway.. years go by many years go by lol I saw him now and then.. off course I didn't want to marry him anymore there was too much of an age gap between us lol plus he was already married.
The day arrived when I was getting married..and I wanted him to sing at my wedding. I knew he'd be there for he would be invited being related to my Mum. So I asked Dad a few days before the wedding if he could somehow arrange for him to sing.
The day came, I had forgotten that I had asked Dad. Anyway through the reception while we were all sitting and enjoying our Italian meal...he got up and he began to sing...oh it was beautiful, his voice wasn't as it used to be but still it was beautiful..he brought the stardust back into my eyes, they sparkled that evening and not only becasue it was my wedding. He added to it and made it even more special for me, and so did my Dad.
A memory I won't forget. He was still beautiful at his then age which I htink was in his late fourties.

So that's it, just something special to me which Nightshade sparked.. and I wanted to share.

Thanks Nightshade  

Maree.


Beauty of the world which is soon to perish has two edges, one of laughter and one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.
(by Virginia Woolf)
Sunshine
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Member Caelestus
since 06-25-99
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Listening to every heart


332 posted 03-21-2004 05:02 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine


Smiling at both memories...this is such a great thread...keep 'em coming, ladies and gents...
Nightshade
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just out of reach


333 posted 03-21-2004 05:08 PM       View Profile for Nightshade   Email Nightshade   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nightshade's Home Page   View IP for Nightshade

Maree, I am so glad that I helped your remember something so nice. It's funny how we can get crushes so young. I always had a crush on my sister Enchantress's boyfriends....lol. I probably drove her insane hanging around and giggling while she tried to carry on a conversation with her beau. Hee hee.
  Anyway, you mentioned that your singer-crush sang at your weddding and that he was much older....in his forties...lol....man, that's life just getting started my dear!! Men are only boys I believe, until they are into their thirties. Oooh, I just had a "crush memory."   Another time perhaps. Hugs!!
vlraynes
Member Rara Avis
since 07-25-2000
Posts 9136
Somewhere... out there...


334 posted 03-21-2004 05:16 PM       View Profile for vlraynes   Email vlraynes   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit vlraynes's Home Page   View IP for vlraynes


Hugging Chris and Maree...

Thank you both for sharing your 'stardust' memories... You've got my wheels turning and my mind playing a game of 'remember when'...

Hm...I might just end up with a story yet... smile

And, Karen?... where are you, lady?...
Missing YOUR stories too...
garysgirl
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335 posted 03-22-2004 06:40 PM       View Profile for garysgirl   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit garysgirl's Home Page   View IP for garysgirl

Karen, the love and happiness that's showing in your eyes in that picture is so beautiful
Love ya, lady
Ethel
serenity blaze
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since 02-02-2000
Posts 28839


336 posted 03-22-2004 06:46 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze



and hugs

I'm around. Sorta. Just a small bout with the flu folks! But I'll be back soon, with all my usual stories and annoyances.

and vicky? Ethel? Keep the journal warm for me--tell us a story...
muted
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Elapsing, Eclipsing, Evolving


337 posted 03-22-2004 08:24 PM       View Profile for muted   Email muted   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for muted

*sigh*, im lovin' this..... you guys give me the deepest smiles with your memories
Sunshine
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Listening to every heart


338 posted 03-22-2004 11:11 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

With the first baby, I went through the concept of motherhood [as I look back now] as if I had been sleep-walking.  Too much, too soon.  A working pre-mother, I knew I would have to return to the job in the short time between having the baby and the maximum number of days it took to get myself “back on my feet” or the requisite six weeks, whichever came first.  

We were so broke, I thanked all of the powers that were that we had insurance which paid 99% of the hospital bill.  I think the only “bill” we had was for the ex-Bill I was married to, who decided to eat at the hospital.  

We did the hospital walk-through.  They all feel that if you see what’s going to attack you, you won’t be asking questions when it comes time to push.  Unfortunately, they didn’t tell me not to lean against anything, so in one room, where the huge machine was to sterilize all of the instruments was kept, I decided to lean up against it.  It was mid November and my baby was “supposedly” a week late.  The huge machine was warm.  So warm, that I started feeling faint.  Key point?  When feeling faint, don’t look down on a black and white checkerboard floor.  It doesn’t keep you from fainting in front of the other reproducing families that are taking the same tour.

My first child played lovely games with me.  We went through Braxton-Hicks before it had a name.  [I swore, I never heard the term.  The Catholic nurses just kept saying “you have to go back home…”]  Now, it wasn’t my choice to go to a Catholic hospital.  Except, we only had two hospitals in the area, and the ob-gyn that I picked out wasn’t about to go to Riverside Hospital, commonly referred to by him as “Riverbottom”.

Then, of course, the time was getting later and later.  People were calling me at home, asking inane questions such as, “why aren’t you in the hospital?”  Inane answers, such as, “I had to answer the phone” were quick and ready.

As I entered my third week post expectant date, I felt that everyone was playing a huge joke on me and this WAS a watermelon seed I had swallowed, after all.  If it weren’t for the feet in my throat, and the tap dancing she’d swing around to do, usually on my bladder, I would have sworn I HAD swallowed a very vindictive watermelon seed.

But the fourth week post date came…and I learned the difference between Braxton-Hicks and the real thing.  You’d think since the child was so politely LATE for her appearance, she’d get a move on.  Nah.  It was winter, and the conditions were warm, and food was plentiful, or so she thought.

So on the morning of the day my water broke, my husband calmly slept through it, only to spout now and then, “call me when they’re five minutes apart.”  I think what really happened was he was tired of being giggled at by nurses.

So I waited most of the day for the contractions to become a steady five minutes apart.  They’d swing from 12 minutes to 2 minutes to 15 minutes and back again.  Now, as I looked at it, labor started with the first pain following the breaking of water.  So when I say my water broke in the morning?  That was 2:00 a.m., Saturday.

It wasn’t until about 6:00 p.m. Saturday that the pains came 5 minutes apart.  Of course, that was the year that the Midwest had a wonderful ice storm.  Seriously now, we had to take four pans of hot water out to the car JUST to get through the ice to the door-handle to get the key in to unlock the car.  Of course, I was under orders to call my mother [in warm and sunny California] to let her know we were going in.  HER mistake was in asking how the weather was.  When I told her with all honesty how the conditions were, she freaked.  I told her “don’t worry about it…it’s all downhill and only about four blocks away.  I can sit on my butt and slide in.”

Another five pans of hot water, and we could see through the windshield.  Another three pans [the car was warming by now] and I could get in on the passenger side.  [Weren’t no way I was going to be able to slide across…]

It only took us an hour to get the car ready to go.  Not to worry, the pains were still five minutes apart.  No big hurry here, it’s COLD outside.

When we did get in, and I had been put through all of the ungodly things women were put through back then, I finally found a bed and thought “soon”.  I never knew Ron had invented the word “soon”, so I learned, the hard way, what “soon” means to some folk.  Including my child.

One of the things I do remember is that this child kicked between each contraction.  As the contractions finally [sometime Sunday] began getting closer?  The child kicked even harder.  By this time I really didn’t care what kind of hospital I was in, my language was getting fairly loose, but not so loose as to have embarrassed my mother, had she been able to be there.  But I do remember that when I thought we were alone?  I growled at my husband… “I’m not having a child!  I am having a “blankety-blank” kid by Mark Spitz!  It’s going to SWIM out!”

I didn’t know one of the nurses and one of the nuns were directly behind me.  They walked out, holding their hands over their mouths.

It wasn’t until around 6:00 a.m. Sunday morning when things started happening.  I was finally starting to dilate properly, and they called the doctor.  Of course they didn’t call the doctor who I had been seeing for the last seven months.  Nah, they called in his side-kick, a man I had NEVER seen before.  Then, when he “inspected” me, he said “she has another 30 minutes or so, I’m going to run home and come right back.  Remembering that this is pre-cell phone days, he no more left the hospital then I jumped from 4 to 10.  BAM!  NOW the child decides it’s time, with or WITHOUT doctor.  

“Don’t push, don’t push…we’ve got to get the doctor back.”  Oh yea?  

Episiotomies were big things back then.  Ever have one WITHOUT the pain killer settling in?

Ever sit straight up saying “STOP!!!”?

Ever have the anesthesiologist be told “put her out…” and not know why?

Come to find out, my daughter, who was given to me at 7:00 a.m., had planned a few surprises.

First of all, immediately after being given to me at 7:00 a.m., they took her to the pediatrics ward.  I was SO tired, that I slept a little bit and around 10:00 a.m. Sunday, figuring that I felt pretty grungy, I got up and took a shower.  When the nurse came in and saw my wet head, her first comment was “who let you out of bed.”  I looked around to see if there had been a keeper left for me to keep me chained there [I had to do other things than take a shower, albeit I did them…slowly] and what do you know?  I was alone in the room.  “No one said I shouldn’t get up.”  Man, did I get a talking to!

Then…because I would have to go back to work ASAP, I opted for them to give me the shot to dry up my milk.  Guess what?  Inflammation instead.  Dolly Parton, look out….

Come around 2:00 p.m. of Sunday, I was wondering WHY I hadn’t seen my daughter yet?  Was something wrong?  I asked the nurse.  She said “well of course you can see your daughter.  We’ll bring her right in!”  Shift change came at 3:00.  Never saw the nurse again, either.

Five o’clock came, and husband has been gone since I took my shower.  He’s out “celebrating”.  Ahem.  I’m writing thank you cards.  Still haven’t seen my baby.  Dinner comes in, and I ask the nurse, “when can I see my baby?”

“You haven’t seen your baby?”  

“No.”  By now I’m getting rather anxious, too.  Had they lost her?

Some emergency pulled that nurse away, and by the time 7:00 p.m. came, still, no baby, but, a very inebriated husband who decided to come see how I was doing.

Sigh.  I should have seen the writing on the wall.

I did finally make enough noise and cause enough bru-haha that everyone who thought everyone else had brought me my baby finally got the idea that NO one had brought me my baby and it had been over 12 hours.  As a very exasperated nurse handed her to me, she said “you’d think you’d want some rest first…”

Not before I counted all the fingers and toes…the baby’s face looked SO much like her father’s father’s face, that I knew she was ours.  I curled down into the bed, told my inebriated husband to go home, and didn’t let the nurses take her back for 12 hours.  And that was only to show them that sometimes, even new mamas know best.
vlraynes
Member Rara Avis
since 07-25-2000
Posts 9136
Somewhere... out there...


339 posted 03-23-2004 12:41 AM       View Profile for vlraynes   Email vlraynes   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit vlraynes's Home Page   View IP for vlraynes


Karen?...sorry you're not feeling well, my sis...

Take care of you, and feel better soon...

Love you, lady...


Oh...and still workin' on that story... soon?...smile
vlraynes
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since 07-25-2000
Posts 9136
Somewhere... out there...


340 posted 03-23-2004 12:43 AM       View Profile for vlraynes   Email vlraynes   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit vlraynes's Home Page   View IP for vlraynes


And yes... I know it's not supposed to be 'work'... but you know me...

Maybe I just need to go 'shake'?...grin

vlraynes
Member Rara Avis
since 07-25-2000
Posts 9136
Somewhere... out there...


341 posted 03-23-2004 03:54 AM       View Profile for vlraynes   Email vlraynes   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit vlraynes's Home Page   View IP for vlraynes


Karilea?...

I so wish I had some 'mom' stories to share...but it just wasn't in the cards for me...

I am so grateful, though...to you and to the others, for sharing your stories... Each and every one of them touches me more deeply than you can imagine... or maybe you can... smile

Funny how things work out, isn't it?...

The only thing I ever truly wanted to be was a mom... Instead, I spent over half of my life, thus far, devoted to caring for other people's children... I've been a caregiver, a teacher, a scout leader...a confidant...a friend... to young people ranging in age from infancy through teenage years...  Working with children wasn't just what I did...it was who I was... it defined me... and I cherished every minute of it...

Though I will always wish I had had the opportunity to have children of my own, I would not trade the experiences I have had... The relationships that I have had, with literally hundreds of children are, each one, priceless to me.

You may say it's not the same... they weren't 'my 'kids... and biologically?... no...they weren't 'my' kids... but in my heart?...in my soul?.. they were ABSOLUTELY my kids.  I loved every one of them as if he/she was my own... and in many cases, I spent more waking hours with them than their 'real' parents did... not because I had to...not because it was my 'job'...but because I wanted to... It was where I was supposed to be...

My co-workers never truly understood the extent of my love and devotion to children...  I remember them asking me one day... I actually had a day off...that was rare...not because I wasn't allowed a day off, but because I had no desire to be away from my kids.  But on this occasion, I was taking a day...and my co-workers wanted to know what I was planning for my 'grown-up' day.  You should have seen the looks on their faces when I explained that I was going to pick up a friend's 4-year old son from daycare and take him out for the day... They thought I had completely lost my mind... finally, a day AWAY from children...and I was choosing to spend it with a 4-year old?...but that was me... and I couldn't wait... I picked him up the next day and we had a blast!  We went shopping and HE picked out a new outfit for himself.  Hey...what can I say?..the kid had taste...grin...  After shopping, we got something to eat and then spent the rest of the afternoon at an indoor amusement park.  There was nothing that I would rather have done with my day off!

There are so many stories from my years as a preschool teacher... each and every child was a story in their own right... but there were always one or two that were special... and I would be drawn to them, and they to me.  

There were those children who seemed to open up to no one else... and over time, I came to realize that, in almost every case, it was a child who was being neglected and/or abused in some way.  Why they chose me?... I will never truly know...but I am grateful.  In being there for them, and giving of myself to them, I received so much more than I ever could have asked for or imagined...

As I said... the stories are numorous... but there are a couple that I am compelled to share...

First there was Charlie... a little girl, just 4 years old, who we had reason to believe was being physically abused.  She wasn't even in my class, but somehow, we just connected...and when there was a problem with her, I was the one that was called on to deal with her.  For some reason, she trusted me...and I was always able to calm her...  One day in class, they made macaroni necklaces... She gave hers to me...  Soon after, she transferred to another preschool, and I never saw her again.  I hung the necklace from my car's rearview mirror and that's where it stayed until every last noodle finally fell off...and even then, I found it difficult to take it down.  To this day, I think about Charlie often...wonder how she is... and wonder if she remembers me as well...

Then there was a young boy...Jesse...6 years old.  He lived with foster parents, as both of his biological parents were in jail.  I'll never forget his first day in my class.  In the mornings, I would help with the younger preschool classes, but 'my' class was the school-agers.  They ranged in age, from 6 to 12, and they would arrive in the afternoon, after school let out...and, of course, in the summertime, I had them all day long.

But back to Jesse... I knew, from the moment I saw him, that he was going to be a challenge... but I also knew that he was worth it.  He was angry, and understandably so.  Who wouldn't be, in that situation?  For Jesse, though?... it went much deeper than mere anger.  He had crawled so far into himself...to protect himself...that earning his trust wasn't going to be an easy task.

That first day, he arrived with his older brother.  Naturally, they were both a little shy at first, and Jesse had a very hard time.  I can't remember exactly what set him off, but I do remember that he started crying and ran from the school-age area.  Our school had an open floor plan, so there were no doors seperating the classes... only various shelving units, etc.  So, he wasn't going far, and I was able to have another teacher take over for me, so I could go after him.

I found him, near the front of the building (it wasn't a huge building, so that wasn't really that far away), and the school Director was with him.  Respecting the fact that Jesse was my responsibility and that this was my opportunity to try and make a connection with him, the Director let me handle the situation.  She made sure my class was covered, so that I could spend as much time with Jesse as I needed.

Jesse was sitting, leaning against the wall, away from everyone else...his knees up to his chest, head buried in his folded arms...  I went over and sat down next to him.  He was still crying...and at first, I sat silent...just letting him get used to the idea of me being there.  

After a few minutes, I started to talk to him.  I can't recall exactly what I said... but I was asking questions... trying to get him to talk about himself... about how he was feeling...and at the same time, letting him know that I cared about HIM.  He wasn't going to make it easy though.  He refused to speak.  This went on for a little bit, but I remember thinking that I didn't want to force him into talking before he was ready.  He was already being forced into so many things, that I didn't want to add to that.  So, I started asking more simple, 'yes and no' questions...and asked him to either nod or shake his head in response.  That wasn't working either...but for some reason, I just felt that I shouldn't give up on communicating with him.  Even though he wasn't making it easy, I felt that, beyond the surface, he really did want to talk to me...but he was afraid.  So...I just had to find a way to communicate on his terms.  

I grabbed a pen and a pad of paper, and asked him if he would write the answers for me...  He didn't want to, but I sensed we were getting closer... so I wrote 'yes' and 'no' on the piece of paper and asked another question.  Then I asked him to point to the answer...and finally...there was a response...he slowly pointed to the word that answered the question.  

Inside, my heart leapt and wept at the same time...  This little boy, so young, had been so deeply hurt that it took this to make him feel safe in communicating...but...finally he WAS communicating.  After answering a couple of questions like that, he began to speak to me.  We talked for awhile, and finally made our way back to class.  

From that day on, Jesse and I had a special connection... we had bonded.  He had needed someone to respect him...to meet him on his own ground...to allow him to feel safe.  I don't know what led me that day... I just followed my heart and did what felt 'right'...  and in doing so, I was given the gift of Jesse.  

He and his brother were in my class for about 2 years.  I think of Jesse often... and I realize...he's a young man now... almost 18.  I can't help but wonder what happened to him after he and his brother left our school...and as with Charlie... I sometimes wonder if he remembers me too...

No... I have not had any children of my own... but I have been truly blessed with the love of so many others.

A friend once suggested that perhaps that is the reason I was never granted the opportunity to have my own children... She said that, if I had children of my own?...I might not have had the same level of devotion to other children.  Whether that's true or not, I don't know... but I'd like to think that, somewhere along the line, I touched even one child as deeply as so many of them have touched me...  If I have done that?...then it was all worthwhile...


And now?...I should probably try and get some sleep... These are some very emotional memories for me, and my mind and my heart are tired...

So... g'night, all...

Hugs and much love...

[This message has been edited by vlraynes (03-23-2004 05:48 PM).]

Sunshine
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342 posted 03-23-2004 08:57 AM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

Vicky, I read this earlier this morning, and have been pondering on your claims of motherhood.  Motherhood comes in all different aspects...the cow that loses her calf will take a calf whose mother kicks it away...truly.

I have a very dear friend who "loves children".  That's it.  She's just a person who sees a young life and gravitates towards it, and holds even tighter those she bonds with.  Now, she is a mother herself, and a grandmother, but I am ever grateful she found a in my youngest.  What was so strange...is that she gravitated toward my daughter LONG BEFORE SHE KNEW she was mine...it's a long story...

but without her, my daughter wouldn't be who she is today!

We all come into lives for very special reasons, and I have a very deep-seated feeling that the children you have named above remember a very caring soul in their lives.  We do keep centered within us those who have touched us so deeply as you have.

Yes, m'dear...do not fret that you have not known motherhood - you have gone much further than a lot of us ever will.

Love, K
Nightshade
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343 posted 03-23-2004 09:45 AM       View Profile for Nightshade   Email Nightshade   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nightshade's Home Page   View IP for Nightshade

Vicky There are many forms of "mothering". You don't have to give birth to extend unconditional love to a child. Bless you for being a "Mom" to these precious ones.
  Thankyou for sharing. hugs, Chris


.


oh, and Karilea? Have you ever sat straight up and yelled at the nurse..."YOU PUSH!!" ??  Yikes! LOL.
Nightshade
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344 posted 03-23-2004 09:51 AM       View Profile for Nightshade   Email Nightshade   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Nightshade's Home Page   View IP for Nightshade

Karen? Ms. Serenity? Queen of Mardi Gras? Potion Princess? Get plenty of rest and drink lots of sweet tea. Are ya readin' and likin' what ya are readin'? And...if ya are readin'....why aren't you in bed? Hmmmmm?!!
Get well soon. luv, Chrislane
Enchantress
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Somewhere in time~


345 posted 03-23-2004 01:58 PM       View Profile for Enchantress   Email Enchantress   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Enchantress

Vicky?
What a kind, giving, and loving soul you are.
You don't have to give birth to be a 'mom'
and I'll bet those young people will never ever forget you!

And to our dear hostess Karen...get well soon!
I want to hear another story.
serenity blaze
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346 posted 03-23-2004 05:05 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....

sighing and smiling and wiping the tears...

Thank you all for keeping the candles lit on my patio table.

(Vicky? Can I call you mom?)



Maree? hello gawgeous!

You ladies show exquisite woman-loveliness- strength. I'll be reading this thread over and over...

thank you all so very much.

love you all.
Sunshine
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347 posted 03-23-2004 05:11 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

So, she's feeling a bit better then?  
Are we ready to get the wine back out?
serenity blaze
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348 posted 03-23-2004 05:18 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

*chuckle*

I think it could have just been something I ate... tsk...eggsalad spoils easily. (sheesh...sorry, but I couldn't resist)

and yes, thanks mum, I'm back on my feet again--well, when I'm not here...

But let me bark a few orders and get my house respectable again, and I'll be back to play and pray. and? I did happen to pick up some merlot too. (How did she know?)
nakdthoughts
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Between the Lines


349 posted 03-23-2004 05:45 PM       View Profile for nakdthoughts   Email nakdthoughts   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for nakdthoughts

Vicky, like Serenity..or maybe unlike her i have had the flu for over 2 weeks.. with not much I can do but read  every now and then.

Our stories are alot alike...never a "mom" but involved with so many children...

some day when I have the time I will tell a tale or two...just felt I had to let you know that I know how you feel.

hugs
Maureen

 
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