Posts in family
3 Keys

Shuffling and muttering I bring my house back to normalcy after the Armageddon of Christmas and the New Year. This task holds a melancholy push/pull of hold on and let go. Candy cane wrappers tucked into sofa cushions. Pine needles lining the grout. Boxes and bags and fudge no longer suitable for eating. A fridge full of this, that and yesterday. 

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Cook and Milkies

I somehow knew there would be a point in time that I would become my grandparents. But, I didn’t know it would be so instantaneous or so severe; or that it would be my maternal grandfather vs. my paternal grandmother that would be the chosen one to model. After all, I’m cubic, dark and broody like dad’s side of the family; not tall, lanky and anxious like mom’s. But suddenly, I have arrived.

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Little Fingers

What were they looking for, these little fingers?

They clung to my sweater. To my pant leg. To my bra strap. They wound themselves endlessly into my long curly hair. The found their way into my mouth when they were babies still; and wrapped themselves around my pinky and ring fingers while crossing the street when they were just a bit older. They kneaded my breast when they were hungry and traced hearts in the palm of my hand while we watched Snow White together. They pinched me with fingernails while I removed splinters. And tapped my cheek quietly when they wanted to crawl into bed with me at 2:00am. Sometimes they gripped the back of my shoulder while I picked the rubble out of the 12 speed road rash on their knees. Other times they held me with a death grip when their first love broke their heart. They held me just as long as my own fingers held them when I dropped them off at summer camp or, ultimately, at college.

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The Parent Trap

I write about difficult things all of the time. And I’m told by many that, while my experience is entirely different than theirs, the fact that I fearlessly share my struggle with such honesty is helpful. So, I am going to do that again here.

In 2006, I left a marriage that was literally killing my body and spirit. I was advised by health care professionals and counselors at the time that, if I did not leave, I would not survive. And a few months prior to leaving and reclaiming my life I had the unenviable responsibility of telling my young children (then ages 11, 9, 7 and 7) that their father and I were divorcing.

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For a great many years, I have played a mean game of musical chairs at work. We have acquired big companies resulting in duplication and layoffs. We have spun off parts of the business resulting in workforce reduction. We have restructured and eliminated entire divisions to stay agile and profitable or to, quite frankly, move the work to more affordable offshore options. For at least 18 out of the 20 years I have needed to both (1) look over my shoulder and (2) navigate what might be ahead.

This past year my employer told me that I would need to relocate to Georgia, Idaho, California or Oregon or lose my job. The only consideration was my zip code. I was able to locate another job in the company that includes travel and customer interaction so I was able to stay on the payroll and in Fairport, NY. This time. Barely. And just after I became situated there was an announcement that another 30,000 employees (10% of the employee base) will lose their jobs in the not so distant future. Perhaps me this time.

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The Beauty of Ashland

I do not know how to describe this place to honor it properly. Or how to ever repay it for the kindness and healing it has shown me. But, I will do my best with my simple words so that, even for one second, you can ‘feel’ it, too.

Peace flags faded from sunlight hang askew from porch dormers. And the uneven steps prop bright colored pots full of chive, dianthus and chamomile which people pluck directly to season their meals; even the restaurants. Every porch is inviting with a swing and creations by local artisans crafted from metal and retimbered wood; punctuated with mosaic bird baths and resident blue jays who live out loud.

Pollen gardens invite me to lie in the grass in the shade of the nearby Redwoods and the bees are more interested in the flowers than in me so I just listen to the buzz of their wings; to the buzz of real living happening all around me.

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Sweet Nothings

What am I supposed to do when Ed comes to dinner?

I showed him the door already, TWICE.  But he’s back again.

The first time we met I was barely 18. He must have noticed that I needed a companion. He approached me during a late night walk back to my dorm and, while I now know I should have been terrified, at the time he felt like family.  And in the years that followed for countless hours he would sit with me quietly at the Off Campus Deli (OCD) while I tore the edges off my turkey sub and contemplated life. He would walk with me in silence until 3am on Spring Street, and College Street, and through the Quad near Sigma Chi. All over campus; just so I wouldn’t be alone. I found that so very thoughtful at the time. 

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More Than Enough

Sometimes, I feel helpless. I wonder how I am doing as a Mom. My divorce is beyond hostile and I have so little financial means. I often feel as if I am failing my children somehow. I know that I work as hard as I possibly can to support two households and I provide the model for what a healthy, loving home should be. But, there are four beautiful people relying on me. So, sometimes, I just feel helpless.

And then a gem like this surfaces. When I asked Mackenzie today what the greatest lesson I have taught her is she instantaneously produced this letter that she keeps on her phone. Frankly, I had forgotten that I wrote it; but it’s beautiful and made me realize what a rock solid Mom I am every single day. With Mackenzie’s permission, I am sharing it.

As it turns out, I am not helpless at all. I may not be able to give them everything, but I give them this. And that is more than enough.

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family, hope, thrivingChristine Lasher
Gingerroot and Dragon Fruit

Sometimes I don’t have money for food. There. I said it.

Society says I should be embarrassed by this and, the truth is, I am. I’m “supposed” to be getting ahead. And I’m “supposed” to have a huge nest egg for college. And I’m “supposed” to be able to pay for new running shoes or hitting lessons or a summer vacation. But, instead I drive a 10 year old minivan with 203K miles and I worry every month that another health crisis will put my family under for good. And my guess is that I am not the only one.

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Wee Hours

There were certain days when I didn’t want to wake you. I just wanted coffee for a few minutes longer. You were hard to put to sleep in the first place and would begrudgingly greet the sandman only if I patted your diapered bottom in groups of seven with a pause in between and backed out of the nursery with steadfast caution to avoid the squeaky spots in the floor boards. You always were particular ~ no tags in your clothing, resting your stuffed bat upside down in your shoe at nap time because “that is how they sleep,” nothing mushy on your plate, and always with a makeshift hat whether it be your sister’s leggings, a butterfly net, my breast pads for nursing or a baseball cap “inside outed”.

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