Our Window

#SOL19 – Day Thirty

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We look out our window every day.  If I had to guess how often, I would say it would be 15-20 times.  Our view never ceases to amaze and inspire us.  It makes us happy.

There is a beautiful vision of Lake Michigan that dips into the eastern horizon and runs south to north, just like Lake Shore Drive.  The sun appears in the morning as if it has taken an overnight swim and is lifting out of the water, dripping and hot, and ready to shine.  Our eyes struggle to see the Indiana shoreline.  We think about our friend who has a lake house there where she watches the sunset, the opposite of what we see from our window.

Attached to the lake, a little closer in our view is the boat harbor.  She looks rather desolate in the winter with her vacant slips.  Steel and wooden homes with frozen water wafting about are awaiting their owners to once again come home to roost for the summer.  But even when empty they give us hope.  Hope that the yachts and speed boats will be back, sure as it’s springtime in Chicago.  We stand watch from our window, counting the days until the boats slowly ease back into view.

Our window further frames other beautiful features as we turn to our left and gaze north.  We check the status of Soldier Field, the Planetarium and the Field Museum.  Football games, concerts, 5K running events and the return of the mummy show are just a few things we may see.  Huge billowing plumes of smoke flow out of the rounded roof of the Planetarium in the dead of winter.  That’s when I know it’s very cold outside and I am better off staying put inside where it is warm and cozy.

I am content to sit on my couch and look out our window.

 

 

 

 

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It’s Her Birthday

#SOL19 Day Twenty-Nine

Today is her birthday,

she is 88.

We often wonder,

what is her fate.

Medication helps tremendously,

happiness comes almost every day now.

What took me so long,

I guess I just didn’t know how.

Helplessness and giving up control to the other,

showing patience with this woman

is just not my mother.

But this new family member is settled in to stay.

I hope my mom can live with this

with not too high a price to pay.

We Never Know

#SOL19 – Day Twenty-Eight

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We went to a movie screening the other night.  We go to a lot of these things.  Usually, I am running in from work, getting changed, visiting my mom and running out the door.  Half the time we never know what we’re going to see, we just GO.  But, not this time.

This time we had all the time in the world to get ready.  I’m on spring break so the whole day was open.  We purchased Spot Hero parking earlier that day, had time to think about our outfits and even had a little something to eat prior to leaving, knowing that the food might not be very good.  We had this one in the bag.

We left on time, parked our cars and simply walked across the street to the towering and beautiful Chicago Art Institute.  We sat and waited a quick 5 minutes before being allowed into the quaint little area that served wine and finger food.  That’s when it happened.

Rosie, our Chicago Film Festival rep that invited us to the event greeted us with smiles and hugs and sat down to catch up on our lives and the fun we’ve had since we saw her last.  Rosie seems to dread these nights.  Some are worse than others in terms of the stuffiness in the room.  This one was at an all-time high.  The average age of attendees was somewhere around 75.  The smell of old money was also in the air, along with their noses.  Rosie is only 28 years old.  She stuck by us the whole night.

It was still early in the night when the guest of honor was spotted.  This is why we attend these things….for the “talent”.  Kathy was excited.  “Is that him?  Look, I have this picture, is that him?”

Rosie looks down at the xeroxed, black and white picture in Kathy’s hands.

“What”, she said?  Who the heck is that?” Rosie looked perplexed.

“Oh”, Kathy said, “aren’t we seeing the Hummingbird Project tonight?”

“Hahahahahahahahah, NO!” Rosie said trying to restrain herself so the stuffies wouldn’t notice her.  “That was LAST week.  Tonight is a documentary on AIDS.”

“Ooooohhhhhhh”, Kathy said sheepishly.  “Thank God I didn’t ask him to sign this picture from the Hummingbird movie!”

I’m glad we stayed true to form – spring break or no spring break – it doesn’t matter.

We never know.

 

 

 

 

Bald is Beautiful

#SOL19 – Day Twenty-Six

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We had our 2nd annual St. Baldrick’s “Rock the Bald” event at Kolmar School on the last day of school before spring break.  I sliced about this last year because I was so impressed by what I witnessed.  I had the same exact feelings this year…..just bigger.

This year I chose to look, really look for the story that I wanted to zoom in on, not the Band-Aid.   Thank you to Beth for the reminder!

I looked, of course, at the “shavees” – those who were brave and bold enough to sit in a chair in front of 300+ people and have their heads shaved clean.  Nothing but their shiny noggins remained.  I was in awe of them.  But, I chose not to zoom in on their story because, well, they were the stars of the show.  Their story is the obvious one.

This year I chose to watch the audience, specifically the parents of the shavees.

I have never before seen such admiration shining from an audience.  And, I’ve been to many events where parents and other important family members have had reason to feel pride and joy for their children.  Christmas programs, graduations, etc.  All of these things bring out the best in people.  But this was different.

This year four girls chose to participate.  Girls!!  It was difficult to take my eyes off of them as they sat one of two metal chairs facing the bleachers.  No basketball game in here today, I thought. There were, however, many champions in that gym on that morning.  Students yelled out encouraging words to their classmates as they looked on nervously biting their nails, probably wondering if they might be able to muster up the courage to sit in that same chair next year.   Green balloons bounced overhead, music blared from the D.J. in the back, and cheerleaders pumped up the crowd as they threw their short-skirted, ribbon-wearing comrades high into the air.

Then my eyes settled on a dad.  The dad of one of these girls.  I knew this because I saw him wipe away more than a few tears.  I wondered, what did that man do as a dad to instill such independence, such fearlessness in his little girl?  I saw him mouth the words, “I love you” to her as she took her place under the razor.  What he was thinking at that moment.  Was he picturing his little girl moving through life with this killer sense of confidence?  Was he in awe of his daughter’s vulnerability to have her long blond locks chopped off until all that was left was peach fuzz?

I went up to him afterward and asked him.  His response – “Now maybe I’ll be able to keep the boys away for a while!”  We laughed.  “Not likely”, I said.  “She was beautiful then and even more beautiful now!”

 

Did She Notice?

#SOL19 – Day Twenty One

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Did she notice my face when she said that?  The pain in my eyes.  The furrow of my brow.

Did she notice my body language when she said that?  The uncomfortable shift.  The leaning forward to get closer to her.

Did she notice the hush of the people who were sitting with me when she said that?  The stillness of them.  The focus of their listening to hear what came next.

Did she notice the tilt of the world when she said that?  How it all zoomed in and it was just the two of us with her words?  Her big round eyes looking at me as if she had just told me it was raining outside.

Did she notice that I wanted to scoop her up in my arms when she said that?  Hold on to her and show her that she could have a mother, just not the one who was missing.  That she could be loved.

Did she notice that I stumbled on my words when she said that?  That I rubbed her little arm and suddenly she fell into me with a deep bear hug that felt like everything got better for a minute.

God.  I hope she noticed.

 

Oblivious

#SOL19 – Day Seventeen

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A toddler is wailing at the top of his lungs. DADDY!!!!!!!

Seven heads immediately bob up, they pause from rummaging through the avocadoes and lettuce.

The bodies that belong to those bobbed heads uniformly move in unison toward the crying.

Arms outreached. Words are spoken.

“It’s ok sweetie, we’ll find your daddy,” says a concerned looking mom with her two kids in tow.

The little boy moves past these kind souls to a man and his grocery cart….an older grey haired woman says dryly….this is his dad.  Dad looking aloof.  Unconcerned.

A collective breath is exhaled.

Along with a few choice words for the dad and grandma who were obviously oblivious to their own flesh and blood.

That Feeling

#SOL19 – Day Sixteen

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In my dream last night.  That’s when I got to walk with him.

He was always larger than life, back when I was 12 years old.  I looked up to the sky to see him.  I sat on his knee and still couldn’t see eye to eye with him.  His voice boomed down at me from the heavens.  Yes, sometimes it was scary for a little girl with glasses and crooked teeth.   One who was just beginning to figure out what life was like with two loving parents, who lived apart.  But never were the words coming at me tainted with anything but love.

You are the most beautiful girl in this restaurant, he would say to me.   We were eye to eye at that moment, but I was still so small.

Last night I actually got to feel what it was like to walk side by side with my dad.  Like we were equals.  I still looked up but didn’t have near as far to go.  And we talked.  We talked about grown-up things like what I was doing with my life, what I loved and what I knew I didn’t.  This time he shared his opinion, told me what he thought about all I had done in my life.

You have done so much.  You are kind, caring and accomplished.  I am so proud of the woman you have become, he said to me.

That feeling.  Knowing that I was walking side by side with my dad as an adult.  Talking, sharing, laughing, catching up.  Something I thought I would never know in this lifetime.

What a dream.