>A couple of items have been weighing heavy on my mind lately. One of those I will save for another, more inspired day, but the other was dancing through my mind tonight as I walked Zoey in sweet silence just before darkness set in. I was watching the reflection of my imperfect body and humidity stricken frizz head as I went back and forth pulling and being pulled by the dog, who has never gotten the hang of submission. I noticed a can laying in the grass and reached down to pick it up. In one hand I held the leash and in the other, a bag of rather unpleasant smelling dog poo and as many cans and other garbage pieces that I could manage to hold. Zoey and I were both ready to leave the moist summer air and turn in to our cool apartment. I dropped the waste into the dumpster by our summer home and took off for the door of our building where you were both sound asleep.
Why does picking up trash make me think of you, my sweet little girls? One time when I was in college Cory and I were walking back across the Iowa River to our apartments after a football game. I had been drinking and was feeling good after a fun day at Kinnick. As we walked along with the rest of the tired mob across the river I saw a beer can sitting on the railing over the river. I carelessly gave the can a push and it fell down through the railing. I didn’t watch it land, but one of two things happened: 1. It landed in the river and was carried away, joining the many other pieces of carelessly discarded trash items in the river, or 2. It landed on a bank, and someone went to the effort to climb down the bank and pluck it out of the soggy riverbed.
A man walking behind me said something to me about my action. I don’t remember what he said, and it really doesn’t matter. The point is, I did something I should not have done, and he called me out on it. I started to cry (I had been drinking, plus, I am me, so the crying shouldn’t be a surprise.) Your dad was mad at the man for making me cry, and I told him to let it go. He didn’t do anything wrong, I was the one who had something to be ashamed of. This wasn’t the first time in my life that I had felt regretful and ashamed of my actions, and it wasn’t the last either.
I don’t tell you this story to point out that as much as you currently place me on that pedestal of honor, I am in fact not perfect because I rather enjoy feeling like a celebrity when I walk into the room that you inhabit and am greeted by hugs, kisses and the excited exclamation, “MOMMY!” I tell you this because someday you are going to find yourself having done something that you know isn’t right. You may feel embarrassed or regretful about your decision. If you happened to pick up your mom’s over sensitive genes, it is ok to cry. The important thing is that years down the road when you have moved on from that mistake, no matter how big, small or far removed it was, you honor the lesson you learned. Turn your regret and embarrassment into something you can be proud of, and I will be proud of you.
"We are not put on this earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are always there for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.
-- Jeff Warner
"What I want to say to you is that sometimes life catches you by surprise and you feel unequipped to handle what it brings you, but every bit of life you've lived before that moment equips you to live through it. That's what I would give to you."
-Fanni Victoria Green-Lemons (talking to her daughter)
If there is any secret to this life I live, this is it: the sound of what cannot be seen sings within everything that can, there is nothing more to it than that.
"The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one."