Friday, April 22, 2011

"All that morning is hurting my eyes."

This morning when I woke up, it was still dark out.  Everything was silent except for the sound of a single bird, who, like myself, was awaiting the coming of dawn.  I could hear it chirping, and then, slowly, the sounds of other birds began to fill the air, as they welcomed in the new day.  The sounds of their singing reached a noisy and joyous crescendo, as the sky became the canvas for the day's sunrise.  The Artist's palette was filled with all hues of reds, yellows and oranges.  It was my reminder that I can, once again, begin anew.  If I choose, I can have a day unfettered by all the worries and imaginings of the night before.  The day is mine, to make of it what I will.
All these thoughts went through my mind today....and then, I remembered just such a morning last summer, when all my daughters still lived at home.  I came downstairs to let the pups outside into the morning, and, as I stood admiring the beautiful sunshine with the family room door thrown wide-open, I heard Holly's voice coming from on the couch, where she had fallen asleep the night before.
"Close the door." she said.  "All that morning is hurting my eyes." 
Just then her cell phone rang.
"Who was that?" I asked.
"Jamie," she answered me. "She was calling from upstairs to say that the stupid birds were so loud they woke her up."
Sigh...I miss their amusing insights, and their total lack of reverence for the day. : D

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

PICKING UP THE PIECES OF HER CHILDREN'S BROKEN HEARTS

At nine minutes after eight, on a bright November morning, my father stood leaning against the opened, driver's side door of our family car.  He had parked in the lot, in front of the building that he worked at, given his wife and five year old son a final kiss goodbye, and then waited for my mother to put her keys in the ignition. A minute later, he lay dying in the middle of Harper Avenue. A driver, either drunk or asleep at the wheel, lost control of his vehicle and swerved off of the road into the parking lot. His car side-swiped our vehicle and struck my father. The impact was so great that it knocked my father completely out of his shoes and they remained in the exact spot that he had occupied just seconds before. His watch stopped at ten minutes after eight. It marked the moment when two families' lives would be forever changed; the driver's family, as well as my own.  My father's injuries were so severe, that, despite the best efforts of the paramedics, he died en-route to the hospital. At the age of 29 my mother was now a widow, as well as a single parent. She was the mother of three children and was pregnant with her fourth.  Four months later, my mother and siblings welcomed me into the world, alone.
Somehow, my mother persevered.  She picked up the pieces of her children's broken hearts and fashioned them back together again, despite her own grief.  She filled our lives with music and laughter, and fostered in each one of us a love for literature and language; a love that remains with us, to this day.   I can picture her, even now, sitting with her back against the wall of our upstairs hallway, with a poetry book in hand as she read to us at bedtime.  We drifted off to sleep not to the prose from children's books, but, rather, to the gentle cadence of the language of poets; more lyrical and soothing than any lullaby.  I think she did so, not only to comfort us, but to comfort herself, too.  She loved the solace that poems provided, and in turn, found even greater solace in writing her own.  In those days no computers or blogs were in existence, so few others but her children and family ever heard her heartfelt words.  She wrote as a way to deal with the tragedy she had endured, and her words are as poignant now as they were when she wrote them so many years ago.
The following is one of her poems, which she authored shortly following my father's death.
ALONE
By: Geri Garner
Alone I sit and wonder
I often cry alone
With a heart that's grown bewildered
With the terrible hurt that it knows.
But I can't give up and run away
I have to stay and fight
The hardest battle I will ever know
The heartbreak of my life.
I will have to learn as a child again
To put all my trust in God
It won't be easy, but once I do
The rest won't be so hard.
For first comes faith
And then comes hope
And with them a clarity.
To see this life for what it is
And that brings charity.
And then, though my cross is still heavy
It won't weigh me down as before.
For now I have someone to share it with
And I am not all alone anymore.

~ Blessings, Amycita ~

*I love you, Mamacita...Happy Father's day, 2014. xoxo*

Friday, April 1, 2011

IF YOU SPEAK "TWIN" ARE YOU CONSIDERED BILINGUAL?

As of late I have really enjoyed the footage being aired on the television, of two identical twin babies involved, in what appears to be, a lively discussion of the state of their universe. They are delightful to watch as you see the give and take of their conversational babble, as well as the appropriate eye contact that they make with each other. This has led to another lively debate, this one between everyone who watches the video, on whether or not identical twins have some innate means of communicating with one another. My vote is a definite yes!
As the mother of four daughters, two of whom are identical twins and all of whom are extraordinarily close, I have always delighted in observing the special bond and understanding that has existed exclusively between my twins. It is a bond that, despite the closeness of all my girls, is different from the ones they share with their other sisters and the rest of the family. Just like the babies in the video my twins engaged in lively banter with each other from a the moment they made their first sounds. My other daughters would wake up in the morning or after naps and inevitably, after a few minutes of attempting to amuse themselves, begin to cry if no one came in to rescue them from their solitary world; not so with my twins. Their mornings and after-nap times were always filled with lengthy periods of contented chatter, which I would oftentimes observe, unnoticed, from a distance. The exchange between the two never failed to delight me and everyone else who viewed it, because it was clear to us, that although we had no idea what they were talking about, Gina and Jamie obviously, understood each other perfectly.
It isn't just their "twin-speak" alone though, that assures me that there is something shared by identical twins that the rest of us singletons will never be lucky enough to experience. The 24 years that I have watched them interact together are filled with innumerable examples of an understanding that exists solely between the two of them. It is something that not only defies explanation, but has also caused me great amusement. I can recall, like yesterday, a time when they were about five years old and Gina needed to have some blood work done. As I was escorting her into the room to have her blood drawn, a kindly nurse took notice of her twin sister, Jamie, and suggested that she could come along with us, in order to provide Gina with some moral support. From about four feet away, Jamie stood gazing at her sister, as another nurse prepared to draw Gina's blood. All of us were astonished when, at the exact second the needle was inserted in Gina's arm, Gina sat in silence, but Jamie said, "Ouch." The nurses were so amazed that they called numerous members of the staff to come in to show them the twins, and regale them with the story.
Far more times than I could mention, I have listened to stories from the girl's friends, as they marveled at how the twins not only would finish sentences for each other, but also how, when they attended the same classes but at different times of the day, would discover that they each had, without the other being aware of it, asked the teacher the same exact question while attending their separate classes. Oftentimes though, it isn't what is said, but what can be left unsaid, that assures me of the extraordinary connection between them. Their relationship is unfettered by the constraints experienced by the rest of us mere mortals, such as the need to voice our hopes or disappointments. They intuitively understand the emotions the other is experiencing; needing nary a word to pass between them. They support one another with just the right dose of comfort or amusement, to soothe a flagging spirit in a way the rest of us can only wish we could.
I certainly don't think though, that because they are identical twins that means they are "exactly alike." Gina and Jamie are as strongly independent and as different from each other as are their other two sisters; in both their manner, as well as their aspirations. They are uniquely themselves, while still maintaining a closeness the rest of us will never have. Over the years I have witnessed some other amazing perks they benefit from, as well. I remember once, for example, after a long day of shopping, when one of them was too tired to try on an outfit, but didn't want to purchase it without knowing what it would look like on her.
"Here. " she said, handing the outfit to her twin. "Try this on for me, so I can see what I look like in it."
Sigh....I HATE trying on clothes....it makes me wish I had a twin sister!!!!!