Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hidden Blessings

  Having a husband in the business world can be difficult. There are always dinners and events to attend. Now, this in itself is just fine. It is not the people I mind so much. Rather having to speak to them that does. It is perfectly natural for someone when meet a new individual, to ask questions. It is an attempt to build a bridge. To find common ground in which to bond. This is a nightmare for someone like me. The thing that has always bothered me about people is their inquiries. Not because I am ashamed of my past or even uncomfortable with it. I have made my peace with that demon. No, it is for them that I am concerned. I find myself editing my life for people. It is an attempt to allow them to hang onto their views that parents love their children and mean them no harm. It would be a far more interesting conversation if I spoke the truth. However, when someone asks me about my parents, the truth is not what they are looking for. No it is just an attempt to check off the little box on an invisible form that is filled out before we both move on to another individual.

   I try to protect them. Every once in a blur moon, I will find an "other." Someone like me. Whose childhood was other than normal. Who have suffered in silence. Carrying a heavy load. Handed to them by a parent, an uncle, a family friend. They are marked, as am I. Scarred. So, I am always relieved when the questions of the past fade away and we find something we both enjoy speaking of. Sports or books, our children or our homes. Anything other than my childhood or family. I rarely, if ever ask about anyone else's past. I try to give a wide berth. you never know what lays under the surface of a smooth lake. It could be minnows or just as likely, sharks. White, powdery sand or jagged, deadly rocks. I do not go exploring where I have not been invited. It is a challenge for me to be sure.

  One of the guys my husband works with is from Australia. My Peng has always had a soft spot for him. He has worked hard and been rewarded. Three or four years ago, as we were passing close to where he lived, he invited us for a visit. We pulled up to a nice tudor brick home with a lovely yard. I had met this man before but not his little family. His wife was cute as a button. She had a new little one on her hip and another playing with a car on the kitchen floor. I got down on his level and we sent that little auto back and forth. he had a sweet spirit, but I could see she had her hands full. They were in a new state. A new house. A new life. They were working on sprucing up their home, in between his business trips and the children. She seemed a little overwhelmed. I sat with her briefly and tried to think of comforting words. Of something to let her know, she could do this. She was strong. She was tough. But in the end I told her about Mommy and Me groups and we were on our way down the road again. The next time we stopped in. A few years later. She had just had her third son. I sat and held him and tried to see how she was doing, with out overstepping. Being mindful of not wanting to push in, yet wanting to help. She seemed blue, and I understood that. I had had postpartum depression after both my daughters. I understood. I held her sleeping son and just let her be. There were so many things I wanted to say. Comfort I wanted to give. But my own sense of boundaries, my own carefully constructed walls would not let me. Her husband and mine spoke often and I would ask about her and those beautiful little boys.

   I traveled once more with my husband and again, we stopped to visit them. They had a new house. A lovely family home, with lots of room for growing and playing. There were chickens and a garden. She had made this new home her own. Her hair was cut in a sassy bob. A little longer in front than in back. With jagged, short bangs that set of her eyes beautifully. She seemed happy. And I was happy for her. She had found her way. Of course, my blog came up. She was a reader of blogs. Her husband, in an attempt at graciousness, said I should read one of my chapters. If you have been here from the beginning, you completely understand the challenge in this idea. I thought a few moments and settled on Homer. Because, I love that one. I put a lot of my heart in it. And also because I could think of nothing else that would be worthy of dinner conversation. I have no problem discussing these things, but as I explained in the first paragraph, I try not to burden others or catch them unaware.

   They were kind in their reception. And then we split up. The men stayed at the table and we found our way to the kitchen. So far, I was in the clear. But the more we talked, she in her beautiful lilting accent and me, stopping and starting. Trying to find a way around the subject of my blog. I gave a sigh and let it out. I gave her a little snap shot, an over view. She came around the kitchen island and gave me a hug. One of great quality. And as she let me loose she said "I would have never guessed you had been through something like that." If you are like me, if you know that path of shadows, you know what high praise that is. I had come to this new house, out in the country with a the idea of seeing how she was doing.  I had hoped to find her happy. I was glad to discover that she was. She laughed and she smiled and in her own way, she helped me. I have come so far. I may have scars, but they are fading. I am always nervous around people I do not know well. And this time was no different. Yet I left better than when I came. Those few little words and that much needed hug, they fed my soul and we said good bye. Leaving that beautiful little family, in their beautiful new house, more at peace than when I had first arrived.

  It reminded me, you never know when some little thing, words spoken casually across a kitchen, can help to heal your heart. That is the beauty of this world. There are blessings and treasures in the places you would never expect to find them.

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