My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

commitment, comments, etc

I have a habit of writing on my right hand (because I'm lefthanded) whatever it is that I need to or want to remember. Tonight my hand says, "pay water bill". Yes, friends, this is the big inspirational thought of the day, "pay water bill". I'm living the fabulous single life, for sure.

I love Wednesdays. I leave work at 4pm and pick Austin up from his afterschool tutoring. We come home, change clothes and head to church for dinner. I've told you before about the people at "our table" although we don't really have assigned tables. It's just that creature of habit thing, like you do in high school. Tonight "our table" filled up before Jim and Angie got there.

I sat with "the guy whose wife works late" and she didn't work late tonight... plus his daughter and his daughter's fiancee sat with us. That was nice. I had not met her before, they just got engaged, they're planning a big wedding in September... Such excitement! My Jamie-gurl sat with me.... she was wearing footie pajamas because in the kids' program tonight it was pajama night or something. Sarabeth and Jamie wore matching pajamas... and of course, they were adorable! Sarabeth sat with her "peeps" at the "cool little kids table". She is a popular girl. Jamie can hardly sit through dinner because as her friends come in she has to go and say hello to them. She's four... and so social! What I love is how she will randomly look up at me with those beautiful eyes and say, "I love you Aunt Heather". Awwww! *tear*

I love these fellowship dinners. It's usually mine and Angie's opportunity to catch up. I "table-hopped" and went to sit with Angie for dessert (peach cobbler) and we got our girl talk in. Matter of fact... I think we were among the last ones in the fellowship hall... deep in conversation. I also got to ask my big brother to stop by my house and change the belt on my vacuum cleaner because I'm so mechanically inept that I can't figure it out. I know. It's sad.

Candice, you will be happy to know that I handled the "who has to stay late at work? breeders vs. nonbreeders" conversation diplomatically. Instead of assuming my role as Righteous Queen Mother, I just said, "wow... I was so stressed worrying about Austin since he has done this... and this... afterschool lately". And the non-breeder said, "wow... I didn't know you were having problems with him... he seems like such a great kid". And he is. A great kid who likes to break things and start fires. The positive that has come from it is that it has opened up a dialogue between Duane and I about what hours I want to work. I am not sure. I asked if I could pray about it and get back to him.

My brother Jim who has a wry sense of humor that people don't always get... told Abbie (our pastor's daughter who has down syndrome - she's 14) that my name is not "Heather" it's "Queen Heather". The truth is that the only thing queen about me is the size of my pantyhose.

The sweet couple who caused me to stay late yesterday came back to the office today. One thing I didn't mention is that they have a son who is 31 and mentally handicapped. (I think that's the appropriate politically correct term for it). Today he was in this program that he goes to during the day... they work cleaning jobs and such with uh-lot of supervision. I asked his parents what plans they had made for the long term for him (after they're gone) since it is my job to help people plan for what happens to the people they leave behind. The sad truth is that they have no plans and few resources. They have other children and none feel capable of assuming the responsibility.... which... I understand and certainly don't judge, I don't know if I could make that commitment either... and it's better that mom and dad not count on that being the solution when it won't work long term. Mom asked if I knew of any group home or program that could take him in... these folks are in their seventies... and I don't but I will make it my business to find out. If you guys have suggestions, I'm open.

Since the whole commitment issue is weighing heavily on my heart lately (as in, "til death do we part") I thought about what kind of commitment it takes to raise a special needs child. Not a special needs child like Austin who will need additional guidance and bailing out occasionally... but a child who is profoundly handicapped who will never live independently. God bless people who do this... I can't even imagine. And it's that much sadder to see people who duck and run when things get the least bit difficult in a relationship... what quality of life is there if you can't stick something out? Not just for the people you leave behind, but also for yourself? What are you costing yourself? Who will stick by you one day when you're in need?

I spent a lot of time on the phone last night... including a call from Barry thanking me for remembering his birthday. We had a nice conversation. I'm not angry at him over the whole Christmas thing but I am conscious of my inability to tolerate disappointment. I'm working on it. The truth is that you can never completely insulate yourself from people who are unable to make and keep a commitment. People are judgemental. Love and approval is conditional. None of us is perfect. I make a conscious choice every day to keep moving forward (although I know sometimes it seems like I take one step forward and two steps back). I get out of bed every day and go to work. I am making friends, interacting in my community, building a life. I made a huge transition in the midst of heartache and devastation and I think I have done an awesome job of adapting. It's mindboggling to me that I couldn't make a successful transition to Jacksonville despite the supposed love and support (cough, cough) of a husband who had family and contacts there. As a matter of fact, apart from Whitney, his family was my ONLY community in Jacksonville. I was paralyzed there and I am anointed here. It's both gratifying and bittersweet.

Our bible study tonight was great. Last week there were a lot of tears. Tonight there was a lot of laughter. I mentioned the exciting news that I received by text while I was waiting for the class to begin - my friend A.T (whose grown up name is Anne), the precious soul who was waiting for me when I was released from the hospital and who helped me pack and move from Jacksonville... she is going on a mission trip to El Salvador! She has had some heartache of her own and this is, I think, a great opportunity for her. I'm so excited for her! So I told the class her news and we listed her on our prayer request list (for safe travel, etc) and our leader Alisa (the one of the "cut the cheesecake" fame) asked, "Is that Anne with an N?" Huh? And then we started cracking up. She meant with an "e" at the end. I love my bible study girls! Nothing beats a hen party! It's a serious bible study that requires a lot of personal sacrifice and determination. Not light weight stuff... transformational... so giggling at the beginning is healthy. We've got a lot of work ahead of us!

I also asked for prayer for my friend, whose comment you may have seen on my last entry. I gave him permission to comment as long as he avoided profanity. I think he did ok. His heart is just so burdened for his children... he's back "home" in Jacksonville for the next few days to be with them. I think he goes back to Louisville on Friday night. Can you imagine having to travel like that to see your kids? And still managing to do that week after week after week? And work twelve hour days in between? It's insane! There's commitment for you. He's exhausted and living on diet coke and sheer determination. BTW, girls, once his divorce is final he's going to be on the market and he's actually a decent sort of guy - if you can overlook the jersey accent. (no offense, Jeanne, it's just real obvious to a southern girl like me!) I'll be glad to collect applications. He should be available around summertime... It should make you feel good, Dean, to know that all these ladies are praying for you... there's power in prayer!

Between my phone conversation with my friends after work and my constant phone calls at work I have been growing more and more hoarse every day for the last week or so. I'm not sick - I actually feel great - but my voice is weak. So I'm trying to stay quiet tonight... trying to cut back on singing in the car... trying to pray silently in the car instead of praying out loud.

Oh well. I guess that's about all I have to share tonight... hope you are all staying warm, especially those of you up in the frozen tundra! Love and hugs!


Anonymous said...

So, your wings are sore from all the social butterflying eh?

That's okay. As for Cleveland v. Jacksonville, there are a couple of possibilities.

First, Jacksonville was not only not your turf, but your ex-husband's turf.

It's hard to be the life of the party when you're a guest for the first time.

There is also that you, my dear, for all your wonder and goodness, are not a big city girl.

Don't worry. Few fish get to find the pond that's right or them.

Big Mark 243 said...

I think yoiu are going to be alright ...

Perhaps you aren't a 'big city girl', as I feel profoundly that I am not a 'big city cat', BUT ... with the person who I am meant to be with, I could be anything.

There is a reason that few fish find the pond that's right for them ... fish can't walk!! But I do agree with J-ville being a 'road game', and you have to be prepared to be on the road like that.

'Queen size panty hose' ... smiled at that. Made me think of a PJ Harvey song that I like, '50ft Queenie'. Great song.

Be well, and carry yourself as the belle of the ball. And don't worry about the size of your heart ... it tends to expand with your ability to love others, and you would do well with whatever you had been given.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

There was a lot said in that entry. You sound up beat and happy and I'm so glad you have found peace with the single lady thing. It takes awhile for sure and although I'm single because my husband died it is an adjustment to make for sure. I hope the couple with the handycapped child finds some kind of answer too. that would be so difficult. Hope your Thursday is a good one.
'On Ya'-ma

Myra said...

Tonight's post was inspirational and upbeat. I'd say you are the Queen of Diplomacy too. JAX just wasn't in the cards for you, but you had to live it. Fortunately, you came out of it a stronger person. Our ways are not His ways.

Jeanne said...

We are a good, fun loving, compassionate group here in NJ...but yeah, we DO have an accent!! People tell me all the time that they still hear my NY accent and I haven't lived there for 20 years!!