Dad 2 . . . take 2

June 22, 2020

In honor of this holiday, it seemed fitting to re-post this blog entry from last year. It feels like an eternity ago, somehow . . .
His name is Christopher. He’s 12 going on 13. “Going on” more precisely meaning October 6. When he told me his birthday, I exaggeratedly gasped. “Nuh uh! That’s crazy . . . I’m going on 40, and my birthday is October 5! Isn’t it crazy?!?” He mirrored my own wide eyes as he agreed that, yep, it was indeed pretty crazy. Is that why we bonded today, over balogna sandwiches and milk boxes? Maybe.

Or maybe it’s because both of us were in the waiting game. He was waiting for his “Dad 2” to be released. He got hit by a train. “Whoa! I said. That sounds awful!” He was pushed in front of the train, Christopher went on to explain. “By mom’s ex-boyfriend,” he added. I nodded, sympathetically, as if I understood what that would be like. Truthfully, my own life drama pales in comparison. And as I sat in this waiting room, feeling sorry for myself in this uncomfortable state of . . . well, waiting, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt. Not that I feel like any one person’s life pain is inherently greater than another’s: rather, I believe that we each carry our own burdens, and our own burdens are great enough. Not because of the greatness of the burden itself, but because it is suited to our own unique capacities for burden-bearing . . .

But I digress. I do that sometimes. I was telling you about Christopher.

Christopher, who celebrated his birthday this past year with Dad 2, and who likes to eat ketchup with his mashed potatoes. When he told me this, I shrugged, “That makes sense to me. Like ketchup with french fries, right?” “Exactly!” he said—though the pleased-as-punch expression on his face made me suspect that he may not have actually thought of this correlation before inventing his culinary concoction. 

Christopher, who doesn’t like to eat the crusts on his sandwiches. “I don’t know why,” he said. “No wait, I do! My nanny used to cut the crusts off of my sandwiches!” I didn’t burst his revelatory bubble by mentioning that crust-removal is a rather common occurrence in kid world. I think the Christophers in our midst could use every bit of “I’m special” moments they can get.

Christopher and I shared our meal and I soaked up his presence like the dry soul of a sponge I was at the time. He filled me up with kid-normalcy.

Hours later, I returned to the same spot. I was lamenting the fact that I had not told him how special he was. Our goodbye had come a bit abruptly, as his mom had marched in and asked if he was done yet. It was time to go. But as I thought about him, in bounded the boy himself. I grinned widely and asked if I could sit with him. He nodded. We chatted some more. And then he bounded back out. But this time, before he went, I made a point of telling him that I thought he was pretty cool. And that I was pretty darn pleased that I’d been able to hang out with him today.

I most likely won’t see Christopher again—at least not in the waiting room. His Dad 2 was being discharged tonight and he was off, promised pizza to celebrate (which, he added, was being purchased by his dad’s friend, as Dad didn’t have the money for it).

My own Dad 2 will likely be in for quite some time yet. And the funny thing is that he is in fact my “Dad 2” too . . . for my PaCharley was, for all practical purposes, my dad from the age of 9 on. So I guess “Dad 2” brought Christopher and I together today, for a bit of a happy respite from the chilly reality of life on this chilly January day.


June 13, 2020

So I need to brag for a sec . . .
First off, everyone who’s been around either my hubby or I since we’ve known each other or wed (approximately, oh, 6-years-minus-4-days ago [;-)] probably knows that he’s one of the biggest green thumbs I know. He and my mom are probably neck-in-neck in that race. So our garden these days is a delight. Two years into living Stateside, and we already spend all year (no greenhouse), picking fresh greens from the garden. Summer of course is the boon. Depending when you come by, or see either of us, you may be forced to go home with Kale, Radishes, Beets, Mustard Greens, Okra, Tomatoes, Sweet Peas, Watermelon, Green Beans, Carrots . . . enough, already, I hear you say! You get the picture.
Now usually, we are a food-focused household, in that all our growings, animal-ownings, and such, are based upon how they will contribute to our dinner table. Garden=vegetables. Goats=milk/yogurt/cheese. Chickens=eggs. Rabbits=meat.
But today we had a new item of interest enter our homestead. When we lived in Ghana, in a second-floor apartment, we had a little balcony garden (or set of pots, as it were). One of those pots contained a flower that I had flipped over when biking past it, so smitten that I stopped to ask about it when I passed while a woman was outside with them. I boldly asked for a take-home bloom to put on my table. She promptly reached over to one of the plants in the yard and, rather than snipping a bloom as I expect, she tugged to uproot the tall plant and handed it to me with a smile. I gasped, slightly embarrassed at the extravagance of her response. But I accepted.
Back home, Peter quickly turned that plant into a flowering abundance, and it proceeded to adorn our table for the remainder of that final year of our lives in that country.
Fast forward.
In his future-minded, experimental playfulness, Peter included a pocketful of those flower seeds when we packed to leave the country. And about a year later, once we had begun settling into our homestead here, he planted them. This month he surprised me with the announcement that we would soon have a “Ghana bloom.” And today, on our dining room table, we celebrate. We may both be currently barreling through respective work assignments, complaining about the drudgery of homework that needs to be down; but on a deeper, soul-satisfying level, we know that we live in a land of plenty. We see that it is good.

goat speak

June 4, 2020

Sometimes, when everything is too much . . . When the load is too heavy . . . When there are no words . . . When you wonder if you can stumble through another day …
And then, you milk your goat, and she looks at you as if to say, “You will be ok.”
All may not be well. But it will be. Some day. Some how. Lord give me the will to want to believe it …