Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Epiphanies

I was talking to a friend today about life-changing moments. Epiphanies, Aha Moments, whatever you wish to call them. We’ve all had them.

I told her, you know, I’m going to start recording my epiphanies. Here is an account of one of my more important ones:

In 1997, I was working at a residential treatment center for youth offenders. I loved my job, and found it rewarding to work with young people. I have worked with challenged populations since high school, and with at-risk youth since 1994. But I don’t think I ever got it until one particular day…sitting at a red-light.

On my way to work that day, traffic was really bad. I had to exit to go through downtown and some pretty rough neighborhoods to get to work. I was low on gas, and though I seldom feel a lot of fear in any surrounding, I was not eager to run out of gas where I was.

As I was driving, I came to a red-light. I sat at the light and looked around at my surroundings, and I saw an apartment complex to the left. It had the look of a housing project, and likely was. On the grass, just a few feet away from the road, two little toddler boys were playing. There were a few teenaged boys on the corner a few feet away from the little boys, talking and waiting for the bus.

I just kept staring at the little boys and it occurred to me that these children were playing outside, unsupervised, in a neighborhood in which I, a strong adult, wouldn’t want to run out of gas.

I suddenly understood, for the first time, from where the young men in our program came. What survival skills did they have to learn just to get through every single day? As little children, they played, lived, and slept in places that I would avoid walking in after sundown.

It totally changed my outlook on life.

I knew that I would never fully understand why some people do the things they do. But for the first time, I understood fully that I didn’t have to understand. What I had to do was embrace them for who and where they were and work with them from there. My lack of understanding turned to awe and respect for their enormous strength. It became my mission and purpose to work with young people who had once been little children on the side of the road and help them to find new survival skills.

A family member of mine once stated arrogantly “Those kids don’t want to do anything, I’d put them all of them in prison and throw away the key”. And it ran through my mind…. “You have never known, and never will, the kind of strength I see every day”.

They are my heroes.

My purpose in life was sealed that day, sitting at a red-light, watching children play.

Mr. Wonderful Redeems Himself….Again

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I woke up yesterday morning with this feeling of dread. I’ve been doing that a lot lately.

One thing that was on my mind was Mr. Wonderful. The years looming before me of having to take care of him (financially). Him contributing next to nothing in any way. He doesn’t help financially. He’s virtually stopped even pretending to work around the yard and home. His one redeeming factor has always been helping me with the kids schedules. But he’s not even great at that anymore. Basically he’s just being a slug and living off of me, with the added joyous quality of being a drunk, obnoxious, mean slug.

I actually was thinking yesterday morning, as I was lying there in bed….”I need to have a talk with him one morning, before he’s been drinking, about our future.”

I was thinking that I need to keep it real with him and lay it out as I see it.  We’ve been down this road too many times for me to continue to expect or hope for change. It won’t happen.

Mr. Wonderful generally spends Wednesday nights with his girlfriend of the moment (it changes constantly). Wednesday is piano night, so it’s a good night for him to do this without Little Guy asking a lot of questions. Little Guy likes for Mr. Wonderful to be home at bedtime, but on Wednesdays it’s become routine and that’s the only night I sleep in the big bed (formerly our bed).

So anyhow…Little Guy came home from school yesterday (Wednesday) saying his tooth was still hurting. He of course had his oral surgery on Monday, so it’s still normal for it to be a little tender.
I was rushing to get home to try to get Diva to piano when Mr. Wonderful called me. He said, “Since Little Guy’s tooth is hurting, I’ll stay home with him until you get back from piano. That way, he won’t have to be running around town with you when he’s feeling bad.”

Ok.

So Mr. Wonderful stayed home with Little Guy until we got home at 9ish. Then he kissed us all goodbye and left, telling Little Guy his usual story. “I’m staying over at Joe’s after Happy Hour so that I’m not drinking and driving.”

Redemption. For a moment. Just when I start really getting ready to make a move and be proactive about Mr. Wonderful, he does something….nice.

What would you do? Is it pathetic that I’m so extremely appreciative of even the tiniest gesture? Considering that I am the one carrying the weight of the entire world?

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New office….sort of

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As most know, we had to move from our office week before last. Was it only 2 weeks ago? It seems like so much longer….

Last week was so crazy. Because we had such short notice about the move, we had to make some very quick arrangements not only for us, but for our staff. Mine are scattered in 3 different locations.

We are officed (I think this is the last week) on Main Street in downtown Dallas. And we love it! OMG….we are diving into the underground walkways/tunnels at lunch and having so much fun.

Adjustments? Well, I have to walk maybe 1/2-1 mile to the office in the morning, but I don’t mind. Paying for parking bites, but of course we’ll be reimbursed.
 William took me to Enchiladas for lunch and I swear it was a 2 mile walk….he laughed and said no, but it took half an hour to get there and we were walking very briskly and I know how long it takes me to walk a mile briskly.

And there is a Starbucks it seems on every corner. And there are so many cool vendors under in the tunnels at thist time of year. I’ve bought some great Xmas gifts. As bad as I’ve wanted to get back to South Dallas, I’ll miss downtown….

I have only 2 words left to say: Noodle Nexus (no, they don’t pay me to link to them…just sharing the joy of noodles!)


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Time Travel: Happy Birthday EB

Friday, October 13, 2006
Happy Birthday EB
Current mood: sad

October 8th. Your birthday was Sunday. And I forgot. I’m bad at remembering birthdays. But not yours. Never yours.

This is the first year I forgot. I used to spend the whole week before remembering it. Trying to decide….do I call your mom? Knowing what it will do to me emotionally. Knowing what it will do to her. Knowing that her words and the tears in her voice will bring it all back for me. Knowing that my presence at the other end of that phone line will make it that much harder for her. Because it never fades away for her, I know. As it apparently is fading away for me.

Why am I sad that I forgot? Why are my eyes filled with tears now because I forgot? This is a good thing….right? Moving on? After 15 years? Not just physically, literally moving on, as I did long ago….but letting go. Letting go of that small tiny piece of you that belongs to noone but me.

I forgot this year. I won’t next year. I’ll never let go. I won’t let you fade away as if you were never here. You were here. And you mattered to me. You will always matter to me.

Messengers

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“Children are messengers we send to a time that we will not see.”

I saw this quote today on a church billboard on my way home. I’ve never seen it before. I tried to find a source/author online and can’t.
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