Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Red Letter Day for Little Miss Lou

March 1 is tomorrow - the day I’ve been waiting for all year long! 

This is the day that I will officially be on Medicare.  For the past year I have been uninsured, walking on eggshells, hoping that I wouldn’t get sick or injured.  And now, the day is almost here, and I can feel the weight lifting from my shoulders.

I didn’t think I would look forward to becoming 65 so much.  But under the circumstances, it looks like a pretty good number to be.  I guess I could say that I am retirement age, but realistically, my days of leisure are still a few years away.  Most of my visions of retirement evaporated into the mist last year, being replaced by one of continuing to work, earning a living, and preparing for that day when I will sit down in my easy chair, pick up my book or knitting needles, and watch the world go by from my window while I sip a cup of herb tea.  YUCK!  Is that my vision – REALLY??

Instead, as of tomorrow I’ll be insured (somewhat), still working, not yet drawing Social Security, and gazing at the world with fresh eyes, not from a window, but from a broader perspective.  My budget is tight, my jeans are loose, my head is clear, and my future is fuzzy.  I don’t know what this day will bring my way, much less the next year.  I am traveling a new road, taking in the sights, picking up souvenirs, and finding people (and animals) to travel with and stories to share along the way.

Now all I have to do is make it through today without tripping, falling, running into something, or otherwise causing injury to myself. I’ve done it for a year- I think I can manage it for one more day!

March 1 - HERE I COME!!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

You Are My Sunshine

Last week my friend Kasey, who runs a dog rescue not-for-profit, asked me if I would be interested in fostering a dog she had rescued from Gwinnett County for a few days.  She told me that Peaches was a sweet little dog, and needed a good home. Kasey had pulled her from the shelter the day before she was to be euthanized. She had spent a few days at another foster home which hadn’t worked out.  Of course I said yes.
On Wednesday, Peaches arrived at our kennel after being spayed.  We placed her into one or our suites to rest overnight.  I would take her home with me on Thursday.

Off and on during the day on Thursday, I stopped by to say hello to Peaches so that she could get to know me.  When it came time to go home, she eagerly jumped into the backseat of my car, and settled down as if she had done it hundreds of times before.  When we got to my house, she followed me inside, investigated, and found the kennel I had set up in my bedroom. 

I knew from the get-go that I couldn’t call her Peaches.  It just didn’t seem to suit her.  On Friday morning when I opened her kennel to let her out, I said, “Good morning, Sunshine.”  I knew then that was her name.  The song, “You Are My Sunshine” started going round and round in my mind as I remembered my childhood, listening to my dad sing it every morning while he dressed for work.  Sunshine, she is.

By Saturday, I knew I was a foster failure and that Sunshine would be staying with me.  We have some adjusting to do to get to know each other, but she has wiggled and wagged her way into my heart!

She knows she is home, and I do, too.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Life As I Once Knew It

One year ago today, my life took a turn.  Actually it wasn’t really a turn, but more like an earthquake, or even a tornado.  My life changed drastically, and life as I had known it ceased to exist.

One year ago today I was placed in handcuffs and escorted to the Walton County jail where I spent a humiliating and humbling night, and came out a different person from the one I was the day before.

For the next few months I wandered through a dark tunnel, not knowing what my future would be, or if I would ever exit the tunnel intact.  During these months, the blinders were removed from my eyes, my trust and faith in the person I loved was destroyed, and I was stripped down to my core.  When I was able to sleep, my dreams were nightmares, most carrying an entrapment theme. I would wake up terrified and disoriented.  I didn’t know who I was or how I had landed in this dark, dark place.   I spent many hours writing in a personal journal, berating myself for my weakness, and generally wishing I could just fall into a hole somewhere and disappear.  I was on a journey I didn’t want to be on, and I saw no way to exit off of this particular highway.

As the months passed, small gifts came my way, enabling me to grab hold to the sides of the tunnel and begin walking toward the pinpoint of light I thought I could see in the distance.  I got a wonderful job, which took me out of my house every day and enabled me to concentrate on something other than myself. Friends and family began praying for me, encouraging me to get out of my situation, and cheering me on to take a step I was afraid to take.

In a moment of crisis in June, I knew I had to take the leap and leave the environment I was living in and escape to a new and yet-unknown future.  Again, with the support of friends and family, I stepped off the ledge, amazed to find a bridge beneath my feet leading me to a new life. 

It has been a horrible year.  I would never wish what I have been through on anyone, and I often find myself shaking my head realizing that all of this really happened to me.   I wasn’t the person I thought I was, and I let myself be drawn into something that I never in my wildest dreams would have ever conceived of on my own or even thought about as something I’d like to be a part of.  I was weak, na├»ve, trusting, and ignorant- none of which were good excuses for the predicament where I found myself.

It has also been a wonderful year.  I have been surprised by grace, encouraged by the love of friends, both old and new, propped up by my family, and strengthened by a faith that has grown by leaps and bounds as I have made discoveries of grace gifts placed on my life path at critical places, designed to help me and lead me forward.  My life today is rich and full, and I am thankful.

My nightmare isn’t over yet – it could drag on for several months to several years.  But I have embraced my new normal, put down roots into solid ground, and have chosen not to pay attention to the bad dreams.  I am living each day with a thankful spirit, and am determined to make my life one of paying it forward as a way of thanking all those who unselfishly poured out their love and support for me during this year.

Tomorrow begins another year for me.  I am a different person, I hope a better person, and a person closely attuned to God’s voice in my life.   I have wandered through the tunnel, and have found the sunshine once again.

Happy New Year to me!

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Jungle Fun Room - Unleashed

Saturday found me in Danville, Virginia, at George Washington High School, where Brian’s play, “The Jungle Fun Room”, was being performed by the high school’s drama department.  Brian warned me ahead of time that it was going to be “different” from other performances I had already seen, but I didn’t anticipate the rare treat I was in for!

We arrived early at the school for the 3:00 matinee, but there were already a few of the cast members there, anxiously waiting for time for the show to begin.  Enthusiastic and cordial, they greeted me with the warmth of an established friend – a few handshakes, and quite a few hugs.    They had been with Brian all week long while he conducted workshops with them and watched their rehearsals.  It was obvious that they were as in awe of my son, the playwright, as I was!

I found an auditorium seat to claim as mine, and watched from my place as the cast scurried back and forth, getting ready for the performance.  It took me back to my senior year in high school, when I was in the ensemble of “Oklahoma!”   I enjoyed the energy, electricity, and enthusiasm I was witnessing, as well as remembering the excitement I felt as a teen-ager about being in a stage production. 

Brian sat down beside me to watch the play, visibly on pins and needles and nervous, not knowing quite what to expect.  Together, we listened to the opening music and held our breaths as the stage lights came up, illuminating the stage and set.  The play began.

What a treat – a unique and rare treat!  Those kids interpreted Brian’s play in a way I never could have imagined.  They became their characters on stage, improvising when necessary over forgotten or missed lines, and helping each other out during tense moments, at times carrying their fellow actors through the performance.  They added things from their own imaginations as they became the characters they were bringing to life, skipping parts that either didn’t suit them, or those that they forgot.  It was not “The Jungle Fun Room” that I had seen in New York or Lexington, and it certainly didn’t strictly follow the script I had read and re-read as Brian’s proofreader while he wrote it.   But it was great!  The audience loved it, and the young actors had one hell of a good time on stage!

Afterward, at the cast party, I watched and listened as the kids reveled in performance after-glow.  A couple of them talked to me and shared dreams of their future with me.  A few adopted me as “Grandma”, and all were sad that it was over and time to say goodbye to Brian.

There are no written words to adequately describe the experience of this day.  “Unique” doesn’t begin to encompass what I saw, heard, and felt.  What is important to me as I record this day in my collection is that I shared it with my son, and that we now share a day in our lives that only the two of us can ever understand, appreciate, and re-live in our storytelling.  If we were able to recreate our adventure word-for-word and frame-by-frame, few would believe us!

The students of the George Washington High School “Jungle Fun Room” will live in my heart and memory as long as I live!