25 July 2010

The Last One Standing

I am an only child.

While being so is a topic for discussion in itself, it's just the beginning of how alone I feel today.  I am the last one standing, you see.  The last of the Hughes family - of our little clan anyway.  When my grandmother left this earth on Saturday, she did so to join the rest of them in heaven; her grandson, her husband and her two sons.  

I had a brother once.  He lived for two days when I was three years old.  I remember being excited and preparing for the new baby by practicing with my dolls as any good big sister-to-be does; slinging them around carelessly by one arm and wrapping them up so tightly in a blanket they were sure to suffocate.  His name was Jeffrey.  I lay babies breath on his grave each year and can't wait to meet him someday.

 My grandfather was a kind man who was soft spoken and laughed much.  He sang gospel in a tenor voice that would make birds stop to listen.  He battled weight and complications with diabetes until he lost the war when I was nine.

My uncle was an absolute blast.  Forever young, incredibly handsome and always rebellious, he was full of funny character and life.  Still an ornery little boy when my parents met, he made an annoyance of his pesky self on their dates together.  My mother once told her future mother-in-law, "If I ever had a child like that....!" to which was replied back to her, "Be careful what you are wishing for!".  Four years later I was born - the spitting image and personality of my uncle.  He was snatched from us as a result of a motorcycle wreck when I was nineteen.  His body tried to hang on for a few weeks after that fateful accident, but his brain and spirit were already gone.  My grandmother was forced to make the impossible decision of "pulling the plug".  In taking one life, they both gave it to so many others by donating organs through the Midwest Transplant Network.  Truly a selfless gift that lives on still today.

My father passed away just seven months ago.  He was a complicated contradiction between being the life of the party and withdrawing into his own cavernous self; the sociable guy that others wanted to be around vs. the introvert that would rather shut out the world in his basement by drowning it all out with headphones or watch a movie alone in the darkness.  He was smart; dictionary freakshow smart.  He was a collector of all things.  All things were of interest to him.  He knew everything there was to know about nothing at all.  I loved to visit my dad and marvel at his 'stuff'.  As I grew up we grew apart, probably because we are so much alike.  My dad was a lymphoma survivor and an over-comer of addictions; strong man in body, mind, opinions and convictions.  The treatment required to save his life in one decade had made him weak for the next.  Before he died he had made amends with most - including me.  He died in peace.  

Since that time, my grandma had just grown weary.  She had taken medicine to get her through her grief that reacted poorly with her body.  As toxins filled her blood she had frequent talks with her boys.  She missed them fiercely and cursed the fate that had left her behind.  She had me.  She had her husband of 35 years, my step-grandfather.  She loved us both.  But she was called home.  I am happy that she is finally happy.  That was my reaction after the initial shock and tears as I got the news after work, alone in the parking lot on Friday.  An odd and almost inappropriate laughter came over me - hysteria had taken over maybe - delirium.  But I could picture them all together again like a snapshot of bygone days.  They are all now together in spirit and in body, laid to rest together in the family plot cemetery.

I am sad that I was unable to have a baby of my own before they were gone.  That would have made them all so happy.  It's all my grandma talked about!  But maybe with all those angels in heaven looking down on me - my purpose will definitely soon be revealed.  Maybe in being the last one standing now, it is only to make me appreciate what is to come even more.  I can't wait to find out!  And when that plan is revealed, I will surely be laughing like crazy as tears of joy overcome me; and the warm love of family will surround me again.

20 July 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Bark is Bigger

...but JUST IN CASE!...

One of my best friends came to visit and stay with me for a week.  The Furbaby was not so thrilled with her new accessory!
"Bark is Bigger" 
Photo Taken:  9 July 2010
No Editing.

Triple Threat

When you are desperately trying to have a child, just ONE seems like everyone else is accomplishing what you cannot.  Let alone endure those who have having multiples!  What a nerve wracking blessing.  

So was my Saturday...

...and honestly, it was fine.

I was fine.

I am fine! 

19 July 2010

My Skewed Perception of Inception

I just saw "Inception".   

This is my kind of flick; "The Matrix" meets "Romeo and Juliet" of sorts that suddenly swan dives into the subconscious with mind-bending and soul-bearing power.  What does this have to do with babies and my journey thereof?  Maybe it's in the realm between reality and dreams - but it moved me in a way I can't stop thinking about.  I'm also pretty sure I was the only one leaving the theater in utter tears!

The main character was trapped.  Trapped in a life of running, trapped within his own mind and trapped in the past.  The thing that set him free and kept him alive (in one dimension or another anyway) was a memory of his children.  They were the light that guided him through all the darkness as he fought to find his way back to them.  We are unable to see their sweet faces throughout the film as a reflection of what their father is able to recall.  We find out later that there is a pivotal moment that could have provided closure and a better snapshot of this memory.  It turns out to be his biggest regret.  To know the moment you made a wrong choice - a choice that you will regret for the rest of your life; the combination of themes (out of SO many in the movie) was on that tugs at my heart.

I found myself also searching for those tow-headed fictional children on the big screen; for their light and for my purpose. 

10 July 2010

Just One ("Woven In Prayer" - Part II)

I got to have lunch with The Wicker Chair Lady today!

This is what my husband so obliviously calls her from his distance.  Her husband teases that it was our personal ads date.  Men (I say shaking my head with an affectionate smile).

If you have ever responded to a seller on Craigslist via email, you can appreciate the fact that the subject line pre-populates with the description of the original posting.  Our first correspondences were titled "2 Wicker Chairs - $50 (Lees Summit)".  We then progressed to weeks of a shortened "Wicker Chairs".  I sent one today with the subject "Lunch Today and Video Recap".  I loved the response I got back, so pointedly stated, "We are no longer under the subject of Wicker Chairs.  We have moved on."  

I couldn't have expressed it better myself. 

So lunch was fun and delish as we ventured out a local (and now infamous FoodNetwork) hangout, sampling their smoked salmon and caper pizza.  YUM-O!  Conversation was again easy.  Time flew by.  Three and a half hours later I was full of information, support and options and ideas I hadn't thought of before.  And a new friend. 

"Just One" is the message of this heartfelt video campaign for The Adoption Resource Foundation.  My new friend has been a board member in the past and her husband holds a position currently.  They are both great resources for support - and one of the couples who shared their personal story in the following promo.

Please reach out for more information, either through me: or click to contact the ARF directly.

07 July 2010

Wordless Wednesday - The Painted Orchid

"When the emotions are strong one should paint bamboo; in a light mood one should paint the orchid."
~ Chueh Yin 

My first thought upon seeing this airbrushed orchid at The City Market was "how dare they!".  I am a purist at heart and thought it may have cheapened the luxury of the perfect blossom.  But it was gorgeous all the same; soft and provocative and AMERICAN (just like me!?!..LOL).  I hope you enjoy!

"The Painted Orchid" 
Photo Taken:  3 July 2010
Edited in Photo Explosion" Eliminate background and diffuse glow.

For more great Wordless Wednesdays and Reading!

04 July 2010

Happy Birthday, USA

I heard someone say just the other day, "There are only two people who will sacrifice their life for you; GOD and an American Soldier."   That gave me an amazing feeling of peace and blessings.  I hope the same to you!

From my front porch to yours:  Have a BLAST this 4th of July!

02 July 2010

B is for BABY (and an unrelated FLIP OFF!)

I got this adorable thank you card from my husband's cousin about to pop in Florida.  It was so cute I had to share!  I'm pretty sure she had no idea it fit my blog theme so well - but I like to think it is JUST for me ;)  THANKS for the THANK YOU! 

Now onto my rant...

When you are trying to have a baby - EVERYBODY else is pregnant but you.  It's like when you buy a new car and then realize that EVERYBODY else drives exactly that same one the first time you take it out. 

Of course I am happy for those women.  But my own stomach churns with envy.  Then I just feel guilty for being jealous.  

So today, I am joining in my first FRIDAY FLIP-OFF.  

BIG THANKS to KludgyMom for cracking me UP..and for Honesty for leading me to her FFs!

1.  BIG F-ing FLIP OFF to MYSELF for being such a lame-o when it comes to the above.

2.  Flip the Flip OFF to losing my F-ing job this week.  What the FREAK?!??!!

3.  Here's a big one to the hubby.  That's right.  You FLIPPIN' FLIP - for going to finish your tattoo..and for taking a 1/2 day off...and for going to play golf with your buddies last week and again this week.  Who's your new sugar momma, dude?!?!?  All the while my closet doors are still not hung and the trim on my siding is still tripping me in the garage! 

4. And lastly, FLIP OFF to gray hair.  Course and crazy and with a mind of its own.  You don't even FLIP yourself anymore - all limp and dried up.  You have disappointed me with your unruly behavior and for taking over the rest of my head.  YOU are fired next - I will replace you with a new brilliant color from a box...and a new blingy hat!

That felt GOOD!

01 July 2010

"Just Ducky"

~ Proverb quotes

But what if your duck...well, what if it CLUCKS instead?

(I think that might just be the title and them of my next Children's Book, by the way...what do you think!??!)

...and now with the rest of the story... 

I woke up late Sunday morning.  The weather was incredible and my cardinals were bickering playfully in the tree outside my front porch, but I was still in a fog and my own chirp was not so perky!  I was in need of cheering up.  Luckily, I remembered that I had just began subscribing to our local newspaper and today was the first day of it's delivery.  I LOVE the Sunday paper; stuffed full of colorful comics, sale ads, specialty magazines and coupons (oh yeah...and the actual news, I suppose).  I shuffled out in my PJs to retrieve it and sat in my new wicker chair to sort through the treasure chest when I stumbled across a last minute announcement that caught my eye:

Now I don't know about you, but rubber duckies are my absolute favorite childhood bath time toy. Any time Ernie would sing about making his way to the tubbie I would go get my cute-n-yella-n-chubbie little friend to sing along!  So bright and squeaky with big-lashed eyes and toothy smiling beaks - how can that NOT cheer me up?  

I wish I would have better planned my weekend so that I could have promoted it beforehand.  Besides all the clever little connections and quips in my head now, I found out when I got there just what a great cause it is.  My spirits were not only lifted by the sound of laughing children playing in the moon walks or the sight of colorful kid-art on the sidewalks made from homemade chalk (not to mention the yummy local Boulevard Wheat for us big kids!), but by the organization that benefit from the proceeds:

 Children's TLC was founded by a group of volunteers who were ahead of their time; caring and preparing nursery school kiddos with Cerebral Palsy for formal school, based on feedback gathered by public school teachers.  It has since expanded and formed fantastic alliances with establishments like Children's Mercy Hospital and the YMCA, but maintains its focus of providing education and therapy assistance to those children and their families, both able and disabled, regardless of their financial or other circumstance.  We often remember to donate to charities that help cover the financial cost of the physical and emotional care of a child in need, but I hadn't thought of the importance of what the CTLC does before!  How inspiring!

So I found a good location to watch the race - a bird's eye view, if you will...

...plunked my racing duck #088029 into the big cage.  The countdown began...

...and they were off!...

...while we did not win the coveted million dollar prize, we sure did have a fantastic day.

So what do you do if your duck clucks instead of quacks?  You pluck yourself up and just keep clucking!  Because that's what makes it, and  you, unique and special.  You flock to those that will cluck right along with you.  Because that's what makes you belong.  You still walk (or waddle) and look like a duck.  You are still a duck!

...and occasionally - just once in a pink even let a QUACK in once in awhile!


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