hiddenblessing

Finding one small blessing each day.

The white blouse September 15, 2012

Filed under: Family,Parenting,Teenager — hiddenblessing @ 1:09 pm
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Yesterday, my son texted me while I was out running errands.  His text said the following:

“Can u pls bring me a white shirt by 100”

So I responded back:

“For you?  Does it have to be new?”

No response. I have no idea what the boy wants… is this for a project?  Is it for him to wear?  No clue. I happened to be at Walmart when he texted me, so I picked up a $5 white t-shirt and bought it along with everything else.  He really doesn’t own any white t-shirts because my boys instantaneously stain white shirts within seconds of putting them on.

I drove to his middle school, the requested white shirt in a Walmart bag on the seat next to me.  Baby L and I were just going to run it inside and drop it off with the school secretary.  I glanced down at the white bag and I wondered for a moment if it would embarrass him for me to be bringing him a new t-shirt in a Walmart bag.

And the reason why this occurred to me is because my brain instantly jumped to a memory of myself, in high school.  In the small town I grew up in, there was this certain store that was VERY, VERY not cool.  In my high school, like most middle and high schools, what you wore was very important. There comes a time that Rustlers just aren’t going to cut it anymore in the social strata that is teenage life.  Of course, we grow up and pay mortgages and pediatrician bills and insane electric bills and suddenly that little label on our jeans isn’t QUITE as important.  But to a 13, 16, 18 year old… it is of immense importance.

It was almost time for the TWIRP, or Sadie Hawkins dance at our high school.  This is the dance where the girl asks the guy, instead of the other way around.  It’s not as formal as Prom, or Homecoming, but it’s still a dressy event.  I was talking with my grandmother about what I was going to wear and she looked over at me.

“You know, I was out shopping at UNCOOL STORE NAME, and they had these white, cotton blouses that were really pretty on clearance.  I think that if we washed and ironed one very carefully, it would be beautiful.  You could wear a black skirt and pearls.  I think it would be really classy.”

I’m quite sure my eyes bugged out of my head in horror at the notion.  For starters, my God, does she have any idea of the social suicide I would be creating if I wore something from UNCOOL STORE??  And to a DANCE?! It’s bad enough if you got caught wearing something from there to, say, GYM CLASS.  I can’t even carry a backpack from that store!  BUT TO A DANCE?!  AND CLEARANCE?!?!  That part alone is enough to make me want to retract my invite to that boy.  Forget it.  I feel the flu coming on.

She smiled at me, in that beautifully knowing way that she had.

“Will you please just try it for me?  I’ll do all the work for you.  If you don’t like it, I’ll take you shopping and we can find something else.  But really, I think that you will be beautiful and no one will know where it’s from.”

And so, against my hormone-fueled-teenage-not-so-better judgment, I agreed.  She went to the pariah store and bought me this white cotton blouse. It had flowy sleeves, a large ruffle that lined the deep v-neck front, and tiny pearl buttons (she might have added those buttons).  She found me a long black skirt with a small slit on one side that fit my sixteen-year-old figure perfectly.  She washed and starched and ironed this appalling shirt and invited me over to look at it (I wasn’t allowed to see it until she had worked her magic).  I grudgingly agreed the shirt was pretty… I guess it might work.  As a backup plan, I guess we could just stay at the hotel room we had all rented to party at.  I could always accidentally spill something on it, say, in the first ten minutes of leaving the house.  If I had to.  Then we’d be forced to avoid the dance, and the throngs of label-conscious snooty teenagers who might call me out in public as a WEARER OF UNCOOL CLOTHES.

And the night of the dance came.  As usually seemed to happen on big nights, we had family in from out of state and we were all at my grandmother’s house.  I went upstairs to get ready.  I put on my black pantyhose, my black fitted skirt, and hot rolled my hair. I lipsticked and mascara’ed and put on my drop pearl earrings.  And then I put on the blouse and turned to the girl in the mirror.

I looked… well… beautiful.  I looked grown up, and classy, and elegant.  I looked everything my grandmother had said I would and more.  I felt positively perfect in this outfit.  I couldn’t have found anything better if I had tried.

She was a smart woman, my grandmother.  She knew that it wasn’t about the label or the price or the store it came from.  She knew, with enough love and care, that I’d be beautiful in anything, if I could find within myself the self esteem to pull it off.

And really, isn’t that true with most things in life?

I so very much miss that wonderful, beautiful, elegant woman.  She was everything I hope to be.

Have a fabulous weekend, my friends.

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Today is a strange day August 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 4:03 pm
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Today is a strange day.  The word CANCER has been popping up all day.  That is always frightening to me, because I always wonder why.  My life is filled with too many coincidences and how-strange-I-was-just-thinking-of-you (or that) moments to not be worried when it seems like I’m finding this word everywhere I turn. And of course, although I try to fight and spread awareness and donate to finding cures for childhood cancers, I cower from the mere thought of it.  Of any cancer, hurting my loved ones or myself.  So when it’s repeatedly throwing itself in my path today, I have to stop and take notice.

It started when I checked Facebook this morning.  A wonderfully talented girl that I knew once upon a time lost her father to cancer this week.  She is a blogger, and she usually writes poetry about her experiences in coming to grips with the fact that her child has Fragile X syndrome.   This week, however, her focus is of course changed and she’s talking about her father and her loss of him.  She wrote this wonderful essay on her father’s lack of anger at the cancer that was slowly eroding his body.  She says that he said “Why?” when asked if he was mad about it.  Because why would he be, with this beautiful life he’d had, this wonderful family, these great experiences? 

Please check her out, it’s worth it, I promise.  The posting I talk about above was “Are You Angry”, but this… this is beautiful…

http://xmarksmyheart.blogspot.com/2012/08/our-walk-to-remember.html 

When I went to find the site address for you, her poem brought tears to my eyes, so I decided to share it instead of the link I was originally going to.   So circling back to her father’s lack of anger, his belief that he had had it all…

My husband and I have talked about this a few times recently.  I’ve personally felt this way for a long time, but to hear him say it to me was immeasurably good for my soul.  We have it all.  Honestly, we do.  We are healthy, we have food on our table, we have three healthy, happy children, and we LOVE and ARE LOVED.  Is there anything else that we could possibly need?  No.  Would it be nice to have a vehicle made in the last ten years and new carpet and enough money to buy pretty clothes and all the shoes in the world?  Sure.  But would I choose that over what I have?  Never in a million years.  If I DID have lots of money, what I’d really want to do is give some of it away to fight things like the ugly “c” word we are discussing here today.

And of course… if I died tomorrow, I would be sad.  I would be sad because I don’t want to miss out on all that is ahead of me.  But all that I’ve had??  That is enough.  It is enough.

And then, I happen to stumble upon a news article about a girl, who is 13, just barely older than my E, who is fighting neuroblastoma and now discovers she has preleukemia cells as well.  This girl has a video blog about fighting her cancer and how to be beautiful without her wig.  She has mad skills with makeup (eyeliner, sweetheart, teach me how to put on eyeliner like you!) and a peaceful, poised outlook on life.   In her videoblog, she is trying to comfort YOU, the watcher.  Darling girl, if only there were more people like you.  What a beautiful place this would be.

Please say a prayer for this wonderful child.  One of the comments someone wrote on her blog was “the world is a better place for having had you in it” and I wholeheartedly agree.   Her parents must be so proud to call her theirs.   

Check her out:      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1slESfh_3M0