I thought about this quite a bit today. First and foremost, I was excited to do the illustration because I suck at hands and I wanted to get some practice by working on this girl’s pensive pose. I’m learning that it works best to do one finger at a time rather than going in and out with the lines to create weird mitten fingers. I think I’m making some improvement!
Now that the image is done, I thought I’d share the first memory I have of my father. I think this memory stuck in my mind because I was traumatized to a certain degree. At first anyway. Continue reading →
When Delilah was about three or four, I lost her in the grocery store. I found her – thank God – and the whole ordeal makes for an amusing anecdote, but that’s not the story I want to share at the moment.
After I told Levi what had happened, she said that we needed to sit down and have a serious talk that evening. I imagined the worst, of course. Levi was going to tell me how irresponsible I was – and then she was going to leave me.
That’s what I figured because… well… I carry around some baggage. Like I said before, my childhood was good. I had a handful of friends and plenty of male role models, but that doesn’t mitigate the fact that my mother took off when Dizzy and I were young.
Being abandoned by your own mother is a feeling that slithers around inside of you like a serpent. Some days it sleeps, and you forget it’s there – but there are those ‘other’ days, when it becomes active… and it lashes out and strikes.
I wouldn’t call it sorrow because I never spent enough time with her to really know her, or to love her well enough to miss her. My mother was ill. She had severe depression and a few other mental challenges that kept her out of our reach.
So, as far as sorrow goes, all of my early memories are of my father, and witnessing his sorrow. What I do experience, on the other hand, is the feeling that – at any given moment – the people that matter the most to me will inevitably walk out.
As it happened, Levi didn’t lecture me about losing Delilah, and she wasn’t going to leave me. She had another item on her agenda that evening – which was the fact that she felt pressured by me, because I expected nothing but ‘greatness’ from her.
What a shock that was to hear. And a relief.
I had spent years praising Levi for her greatness, but it wasn’t until that evening – when she opened up about her feelings – that I realized my words weren’t necessarily accolades, they were tools. Flattery was my way of holding onto her – of winning her over – so that she’d never want to leave me.
It’s not like I was lying. She was my world, and so was Delilah once she was born, but my compliments were words that I didn’t need to think about. They simply spilled from my mouth through the force of habit. Empty words, in a sense, but certainly not untruths.
It’s funny how it all turned out. By the time the night was over, Levi and I crossed some major hurdles. I explained to her that the ‘greatness’ that I praise her for had more to do with her resilience than her abilities.
It’s not so much that she’s the best, it’s that she can make the best out of the worst… and that’s an enduring quality.
And something else happened that night. I learned that holding onto someone doesn’t require constant praise, or squeezing them so tight that it’s like that serpent inside of me has wrapped around them – keeping them bound and constrained.
To the contrary, holding onto Levi required being open, and that openness offered my nasty slithering snake a way out… and away he went.
A Note From Me
I’m keeping it short again because it’s late… again. I’ve been doing more dog sitting and keeping busy – so time is now a hot commodity.
I haven’t been in the mood to write, but I suddenly had the urge tonight and thought I’d try to finish this one up. Maybe one or two to go and then it’s on to next.
The image is weird. I seriously thought about using a photo from one of those free sights, to save me time, but I thought a snake would be easy. Well, nothing is ever easy.
So an hour or so later there I was, just trying to make it a little more snazzy than a tube with a tongue – haha! And then I found an effect that made it look as though he was under water so I thought – “that’s a wrap!”
Anyway, that’s about all for now.
Thank you for reading… I hope you enjoyed tonight’s story!
Having two brothers who were not much younger than many of my friend’s parents, it stands to reason that I had a niece and nephew before I graduated from junior high.
It was pretty cool to call myself an aunt, because it was like some weird rite of passage. With a delayed puberty, and no real love life in sight, I figured that it was as good as I could get.
When Delilah was born, on the other hand, it was mind blowing. I wasn’t just the aunt of my brother’s child, I was the aunt of my best friend’s daughter.
If you add in the fact that Levi was my ‘first crush’, it almost sounds like we were members of one of those incestous clans from the south – or wherever they lived. But it wasn’t like that at all.
For a time, I decided that being remotely related to my best friend – via her daughter’s genes, was enough for me. I didn’t need to have a child of my own – or a love life for that matter – I could just be there to help Levi and Martin raise Delilah.
Of course, all of that changed when I met my soulmate, who is now my husband. David wanted a two-story house in the burbs with a white picket fence, and he wanted to fill that house with a large family. Sadly, after two years of trying, we learned that I was unable to conceive.
In all honesty, I wasn’t too surprised. Before we were married, I never had the kinds of visions that David had. Maybe it was some sort of premonition – not like something that I saw, but something that I didn’t see.
Looking back on all of this, I see how similar David and Levi are, and why it is that I love them so much. They both have a knack for what I call ‘making do’. Like the time that Levi came to my Senior dance, even though she had nothing formal to wear. Did she complain? Not at all. And now, her story is so much richer because of it.
Likewise, if it rains on David’s parade, he sees it as an opportunity to try out his new umbrella, or to test his new galoshes in the puddle in our backyard – the same puddle that threatens to flood our lower level den whenever it rains more than a couple of days.
“We’ll turn it into a fishpond!” He said one year as the water began to seep in – nearly reaching our ankles.
With the same level of enthusiasm, David handled my infertility like a champ. He came up with a few ideas, and we oscillated between them for over a year. Once the decision was made, we were all in, and David couldn’t wait to share the news.
“Dizzy and I are going to foster a child – or two – or three!” He said with joy. “And if all goes as planned, we will adopt. One day our house will be ringing with the sound of children!”
That was quite a few years ago. And now, all I can say is that our story is not only richer… it’s more precious than gold.
A Note From Me
I don’t have much to say. Imagine that! I’ve been dog sitting part-time for the past three days and I’m worn out! Not just one or two dogs, but… like ten or eleven. Only for a couple of hours, but it’s still been stressful. I think it’s more of an emotional tired, because I worry about them when I leave (like did I accidentally lock one of them out of the house when I left?!?) Yikes!
Anyway, I hope you liked tonight’s addition to the story. I wrote the bulk of it while I was on the couch with one of the dogs. That being said, I had no time for an illustration, so I decided to use typography instead. So much quicker.