Posted in Memoir

Joy and a Favorite

Today, I am republishing one of my favorite posts and linking it up with Mama’s Losin’ It.

I loved this exercise and rereading the final product still brings me joy

This was the first post I linked up as editor of The Red Dress Club, now known as Write on Edge.

Thanks for reading!

Where I’m From

I am from steaming breakfasts of golden, crispy bird’s nests with magnificent runny yolks, from impossibly weak Maxwell House coffee and pre-dawn moments of true connection.

I am from the salmony pink-shingled house on the corner, drafty, sunny, and melancholy. Three front steps, ever in need of fresh paint, slightly wobbly from the destructive frosting and heaving of the long and brutal winter.

I am from the unkempt clusters of lilacs, scattered dandelions gone to seed, tendrils of fuchsia bleeding hearts, stolen  and fragile jack-in-the pulpits, and haphazard bouquets of fringed chrysanthemums.

I am from high school diplomas and honest work, from Robert and Max and Judy.  Vegetable gardens of diligence and abundance, encouragement and acceptance, freedom and wild brambly raspberries.

I am from delayed gratification and inherent guilt.

From uncanny paternal resemblance and from the weight of the loss of my father placed upon my childhood.  A stand in, but never a replacement.

I am from bean suppers on Saturday evenings. Cream pies, Jello salads, blue hair, and integrity and kindness.

I am from the intersection of Catholicism and Northern Baptist. Where the Trinity meets God and Jesus.  Where faith meets practice.

I’m from New England, Maine, Fairfield, tourtiere pie and sticky, chocolatey whoopie pies.

From the legacy of my father’s senseless murder, my Pépère’s faintly beer-scented breath, his ever-present and lovely banjo, Hawaiian melodies, and his tender and loving soul.

I am from the cedar hope chest, tiny golden key, idyllic dreams, childhood report cards, penmanship awards, and two unlikely college graduation caps and gowns.

What brought you joy this week? 

I’d love to know!

Coloring Your Childhood

crayola crayonsDear Katie,

You came downstairs today, earlier than I anticipated from quiet time, with paper in hand, eager to show me a picture you had drawn.

And the joy in your face was more important than the fact that you had come downstairs far too early.

Instead of sending you back upstairs until quiet time was officially over, I invited you to bring your new crayons downstairs to color with me.

We sat, pulled out clean sheets of crisp paper, and spread the crayons before us.

From a sea of colors, with each crayon you chose, you asked me to read you the names.

Names that were more than just the words on the colored wrappers.

Names that bring to mind stories that I will share with you one day.

Salmon.

The color of my childhood home…a home that held tremendous sadness, but also immeasurable joy. The home in which I learned about trust, loss, love, and survival.

Wisteria.

The color of the profusely-blooming vine behind the house we lived in before you were born. Your daddy and I sat beneath those vines, on still summer nights, and dreamed of you.

Cerulean.

Daddy’s mommy’s favorite color.  One day I will tell you about the rich velvets that she wore…cerulean, turquoise, violet. I will tell how those jewel tones mirrored the vibrancy of her soul.

Aquamarine.

The color of the sea where Daddy and I were married. One day I will tell you how marrying Daddy brought me a peace that I’d never known before. I will tell you that in those moments, the fear that I had carried around for my entire life was washed away.

Fuchsia.

The color of the Bleeding Heart plants that flanked my grandparents’ home…the home that held only happiness, acceptance, and love.

Outer Space Blue.

The color of my grandfather’s tie…the length of silk with which he taught me the Windsor Knot…one of the many lessons taught to me by the man who stepped into the role of father when I lost my own.

Asparagus and Gold.

The color of my mother’s eyes. The eyes that reassured me that things would be okay. The eyes that have never let me down.

One day, you’ll pull crayons out of a similar box for your children and they’ll look at you, waiting to hear your stories.

May your pile of crayons be huge and colorful…and the stories you share, happy ones.

With a heart brimming with love and dreams of helping you to color your childhood,

Mommy

Defeat

Today’s post is linked up with Write on Edge’s RemembeRED prompt that asked us to…

“…write a story – your choice of topic – as a tweet. That’s right. One hundred and forty characters. Not words. Characters.”

Here’s my offering…

Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love. Girl and boy marry, have baby, then another. Try for one last baby. Try for 14 cycles. Girl is defeated.

Connected through Immeasurable Loss

Letters for LucasOne of my dear friends, Tonya, lost her parents in a tragic accident several years ago.

They were young, vibrant, generous, and kind.

We spoke last year about what it means to have lost a parent, in my case, and two, in hers.

We spoke of death, faith, and pain and how we will explain our losses to our young children.

She asked me to share with her my thoughts all that time ago and I kept procrastinating, as the answers hadn’t crystalized in my mind as I thought they might.

My father’s death has been so central to who I am and how I approach my life.

Today, I am finally ready to talk and I’m sharing my thoughts over on Tonya’s blog, Letters for Lucas.

Please come visit me there and spend some time getting to know Tonya. Her soul is truly lovely.

I will be ever grateful if you share your thoughts and wisdom with us in the comments.

 

Sea Glass

I lay there on the paper sheet as she squeezed the warm gel onto my ever-expanding stomach.

I lay there and I prayed…please let this baby be healthy.

I lay there and I prayed…please let this baby be a girl.

The slurping and squishing of the gel, the gray screen, and the endless chatter of the sonographer did little to crowd out my silent prayers.

Photo, squish, photo, squoosh.

Please…another girl…please…a sister for Katie. Let her have a sister…the sister that I never had.

Then came the words that we had prayed we’d hear…the baby looks beautiful.

Then, the words that I had prayed we wouldn’t…what a sweet little guy.

A boy.

Please no…please let her be wrong.

The chatter, the congratulations, the crinkle of the scratchy paper towels did little to mute my sorrow.

I smeared at the gel…a boy.

I hastily dressed…not a girl.

I looked at Craig…

And I cried.

In all of my dreams, I never envisioned a son.
I never wanted a son.

My dreams held another baby girl… a sister for Katie.

I cried and I grieved for my hopes of another daughter.
And I truly hated myself for being ungrateful for this healthy baby.

This boy.

This gift.

I shopped for him, I filled his closet with sky blue and khaki and chocolate brown.

And I came to accept all that we had been given.

And, of course, I loved him from the moment that I saw him…I had never doubted that I would.

But, in the quiet moments during those middle of the night feedings in his room, my heart softened.

In the soft morning light, as he melted into me, my heart expanded.

With each smile, each hug, each mischievous giggle, my heart has stretched further than I ever dreamed it would.

Like sharp, broken glass, tumbled by the ocean current, my love for him smoothed and softened.

Sea glass.

I cannot imagine another day of my life without him in it.

My love for him, like sea glass.

My treasured boy has taught me that sometimes, out of disappointment, comes immeasurable joy.

Unexpected and endless joy.

I have a son…a beautiful, perfect, irreplaceable son.

And he is exactly what I needed.

My Matthew.

I’m writing about gender disappointment over on Babble today. I would love it if you came by.

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
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