“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
― Mother Teresa
(portion of a 19th century oil painting by H.A. Bossir which was my grandmothers)
Have you ever heard the expression “if it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all”??
Well oddly enough, for almost the past 32 years, that little expression has pretty much been the mantra of my little family. I say 32 years because that’s almost how long I’ve been married and it was just around that time that this bad luck / good luck ying and yang thing started. I’m rather confident my husband would own up to being the lightening rod but we won’t hold that against him.
And of course there’s that whole “best laid plans” thing which also rears its ugly head in my neck of this world. . .
So I don’t know what possessed me to even begin to think that my happy little bucolic dream of having my beautiful chicken coop complete with a bevy of beautiful layers, hunting and pecking to their hearts content, foraging in the beautiful vegetable garden next to the coop while I, Mrs Farmer Brown, tended to my small piece of idyllic country living would actually come to fruition.
What was I thinking?
What came over me envisioning Country Living wanting to come do a photo shoot of my city girl meets farmer girl world? Why did I picture myself naming the girls. . . Marigold, Clementine, Petunia, Coq au vin, and Lady Poulet? What possessed my husband when he had a coop custom made for me last Christmas?? A coop that now just sits forlornly in the backyard, empty and alone.
And what of the large vegetable garden we have each year? What of my squash, my zucchini, my myriad of heirloom tomato plants, my wax beans, my bush beans, my eggplants, my okra, my 4 varieties of corn, of my peppers. You remember, the garden that was decimated last year by the herd of ravenous deer that nearly ate me out of house and home?? And of my Irish Spring deterrent??
What of that???
Sadly, none of that is to be this year.
Time has come calling and has put the kibosh on all my hopes and dreams. . .
well. . .maybe not all my hopes and dreams, but those of the immediate moment such as chickens and gardens and a peaceful summer.
There just simply isn’t time in the day to be bucolic while spending the majority of the week on the road driving to and from Atlanta to Dads. . .
Sigh. . .
And speaking of Dad. . .
I had not even gotten in the shower this morning when the care service we’ve enlisted, in the daily care of the blind leading the blind, calls.
“Hi Julie, just thought I’d let you know your dad called us this morning canceling tomorrow’s service”
“Yes, their regular caregiver has a doctor’s appt. tomorrow–we were going to send a replacement for the day in but they decided they didn’t need anybody.”
“Really. . .”
“Let me call Dad and I’ll call you right back”
ring, ring, as a warbled voice answers. . .
“Dad, the care service just called me, they tell me you’ve canceled service for tomorrow–what’s up?”
“Well our regular girl says she won’t be here so we decided we just don’t need anyone.
And anyway do you have any idea how expensive this service is?
(his voice raising to a crescendo of stricken shock and panic)
This is going to break me! I don’t see why we need any of this care business anyway.
Why do we need all day service for seven days a week. . .”
“Well Dad, you know you both do like to eat and since you all aren’t up to really cooking, it’s nice having someone who can prepare your meals,plus someone reminding you, you know, to eat. Someone there helping with the chores, making certain you take your pills, making certain ya’ll don’t fall as walking isn’t what it use to be. . .yada, yada, yada. . .”
(with an odd sense of clarity)
“Well since you’re coming tomorrow (I am??), you can be here and we’ll be fine.
But you don’t need to stay long because you’ve got to get on the road before the traffic hits. . .”
“We’ll talk more about this tomorrow Dad while we see how you two do without your “helper” for a day.
Oh and did I mention the CPA called miraculously out of the blue this afternoon asking about dad’s taxes?
You know, the taxes dad seems to think will magically take care of themselves.
The ones he’s suppose to have been taking care of for the past two years but hasn’t.
The ones I’ve threatened him within an inch of his life to take care of ASAP, as in ASAP two years ago.
The ones that are still sitting in a pile on the floor in the office, aka my old bedroom.
(albeit a neat pile since I hit that room hard 5 weeks ago)
The ones I’ve pleaded with him to let me tend to. . .only to have him defiantly dig in his heels fighting me tooth and nail over.
“Ok Dad”, I’d tell him, “they’re going to haul you off to jail.”
He’d hang his head, setting that jaw telling me, “fine, they can just take me to jail”
Great. . .
All because he has refused to let go and give it up. . .
And it dawned on me one low day last week that the reality of him actually having to let go, giving it all up is what so much of this entire ordeal and fight has been all about–the difficulty of relinquishing a role he’s played for my 55 years of life.
He knows he’s not been doing a good job for years now but something deep inside of him won’t let it go. How does the dad, the one whose charged with the care and well being of his family, turn lose of that role. . .
He acts like a kid, a child. . .at times.
He likes quiet, his cat, his simple little routine.
Yet he’s still my dad.
It’s his house.
He’s been in that house for 53 years.
He lost my mom while living there.
He lost my brother while living there.
He had a grandchild enter his life in that house.
Who are these people now invading his house, his world?
And when did this daughter, this kid who couldn’t balance a check book. . .
Who had champagne taste on a beer budget, who just had to have cotton candy pink shag carpet,
who was defiant, who preferred GI Joes to Barbies,
who went to Georgia to his beloved Georgia Tech. . .
When did she become the person who is now charged with
his life and well being,
who now dares to tell him he cannot go down the basement stairs in his own house. . .
So it is now official. . .
The inmates are running the asylum and I’m charged with picking up the pieces.
Julie I am thinking about you today. I don’t have answers, only love. Love you
Thanks Melissa—yeah, I don’t like any of this but there’s not much I can do to stop any of it—all I know to do is to just grab on and hold on while I cry, laugh and pray incessantly . . .there will be chickens one day. . .
This fits my life as well. I guess such times come to all of us and usually at the most importune times. In 2007 when my mom’s last days and my sisters’ betrayals turned my world upside down and left me rocking and reeling for nearly a year, there were definitely no chickens, lots of tears, lots of torment and worry, and very little joy. But my dear friend and colleague and friend Nancy kept repeating over and over again, “this too shall pass” and the Lord will take notice “good and faithful servant.” God bless her, she was soooooo right, and it wasn’t really that I didn’t already know that but that she kept reminding me when the noise of “madness” tried to drown it out that was so beneficial. I don’t admit this to just anyone, but you my friend, I will tell for what it is worth. What happened in those remaining months of my mother’s life were so very trying and difficult and painful and in some ways downright ugly that I have to keep praying that one day I’ll remember the good things about her instead of just those trying times. It seems forgivesness is far easier than forgetting, especially when the forgetting involves things that pierced the heart and that were so unexpected. So buck up little buckaroo, as Nancy used to tell me, this too shall pass and all shall be well, at least relatively speaking, again one day. She was right and I thank her for being the voice of reason in the midst of my “madness.” Much love and huge hugs, sweet Cookie. The Lord’s watching and I know you are not disappointing Him and that’s all that really matters. 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤
A hug from afar Natalie–that’s what these words are to me–and for that I am most appreciative. I’ll email tomorrow—things have just been so hectic—
Thank you Natalie for your care–it means more than you know–
all my love–Julie
You are so very welcome! If I could I’d come and give you real hugs. 🙂
that would indeed be welcomed 🙂
Jules and life
Cookies that crumble
The valleys of God which are laden with glory.
Here’s a toast To life!
(love the chicken pic and related thoughts)