i've been thinking about the irony of life a lot lately. actually, it started in the car one day with Scott. we were listening to this country song by Eric Church, called, "What I Almost Was." and the gist of the song is that he's happy about the things that have happened in his life, though they may have changed his plan, or his path. he's happy he didn't up being what he almost was. it got me thinking.
life is funny. everything i have thought was the end of the world, or everything out of the scheme of my normal plan, has always turned out just fine. i thought of many instances of this, the first being a ten year old little girl terrified to move across the country and leave Texas and everything she knew. i mean, i cried every night for a year, and i can remember my mom sitting by my bedside, and crying because i was crying. and now, looking back, i simply can not imagine my life without that move. i didn't understand it then, but now when i think back on it, it gave me a chance to get to see my aunts, uncles, and grandparents a lot more. that move caused me to meet people that are my best friends now, and that i can't picture my life without. maybe it wasn't in my plan, but it was certainly in someone's.
i thought life was going to end when i graduated college. i really did. i couldn't believe that my so-called childhood was over, that my days of freedom and youth were just supposed to cease right then. no one told me that it doesn't have to. sure, you grow up a little. you get a few more bills, you get your first real job, and you move into your first little studio apartment... but you know what? my twenties have been fabulous. i've spent four years in a great city that i love and i don't feel old at all. yes, i have more responsibilities, there is no doubt about that, but i learned a lot about people and i learned a lot about life, and i think in some sort of natural selection process i only ended up associating with the people and things that are good for me. and i'm happy.
mostly, lately, i've been thinking about my job situation. never in a million years would someone have told me at 10 years old, 15 years old, 18 years old, even 25 years old... that i would have ended up being a nanny for almost 2 years. it will really be 2 whole years with Ben and Taylor in a couple of weeks. i will admit there are time that i've been down on myself about it, simply because i do feel that i worked so hard to get an education and get a good career. in the past year, i've really changed my train of thought about that, and here's why.
i may not be where i thought i would be in the marketing world, but i do believe i will get there. and in the meantime, i've had a job that is so valuable to a family, and that's in some ways, more rewarding than working for a company. i've made a very good friend with Taylor, and grown close with her and Ben over the years, and i've had fun. there was never a day that i felt like i dreaded going to work. i certainly felt that when i worked at the hospital now and then. and, Ben brings me joy. i don't know how anyone couldn't get joy out of a two year old. it's incredibly fulfilling to see someone so completely full of life and innocence. it makes you wish we could all be that way from time to time, and i get the chance to see that a lot. i've learned from Taylor's resilience as a single mother, whom when i met her was working full time and in law-school. i've never seen her feel sorry for herself or complain. she just takes what life hands her and she carries on. i certainly wish i could be more like that, and i always have that to think back on when i'm feeling bad about myself for something so much smaller.
and in relationships, in life, i think the hard parts are what makes you realize what the good parts are. i love living in chicago because i think we enjoy summer and spring 100 times more than people who live in a warm place all of the time. it's an analogy for the same thing. we endure winters, they're long and cold and not fun, but we always survive and we have something to look forward to in the end. in good will hunting, robin williams says, "And you'll have bad times, but it will wake you up to the good stuff you weren't paying attention to." and i certainly think that's true. if you want the rainbows, you have to put up with the rain.
i really do believe everything is full circle. sometimes it takes longer than others, but it always seems to work out. every single time i have thought it was the end of the world, it wasn't. and years later, it was quite the opposite. it all works out. a lot of these things i mentioned prior were not in my plan, but you know what, they've worked out just fine.
Monday, June 21, 2010
saturday, scott and i arrived at my parents house to celebrate my grandpa's birthday, father's day, and my parents anniversary.
i gave my dad a card that truly fit. the line i liked the best, that i found to be perfect for this point in my life... was one about "even when someone else comes along, you are still in many ways, the number one man in my life." i thought it was fitting. scott is the best, but no one can replace a dad.
anyway, my dad, a few drinks deep started to talk to scott and i about his dad. i could tell it was hard for him to talk about. his dad died when i was about 5 years old. unfortunately, i never knew him too well and i always feel sad about that. at the time, we lived in texas so i wasn't really around much and my memories of him are quite scarce. however, his story lives on through my dad. immediately when my dad talks about his dad, he tells me, and other people "you would have liked him, everyone liked him." i can't help but to picture him just like my own dad.
anyway, i asked him if fathers day is hard once your dad is gone. and he said, every day is hard. he told me that it's especially when he's feeling down, like right now being out of work, that he feels like he wishes he could just have a conversation with his dad. it makes me tear up to even write this, but i want to remember it forever.
he said "he always had a way of calming me down and making me realize it's not that bad." and i said "well you do that for me too, so maybe you picked that up from him."
it's the truth.
i said "dad, i can't imagine. i really can't imagine a time in my life, though i know it will probably come, that i can't pick up the phone and call you guys. i just can not imagine that time at all."
and he goes, and this still makes me tear up to even think about it...
"Amy, i felt the same way about my dad. i thought he'd live forever."
i really can't even replay that in my head without crying. partially because i feel so sad for him that he can't talk to his dad when he's sad, and partially because i feel the exact same way. i know that it's not true, but i really do, in some ways think, my mom and dad will be around forever. i guess it's the only way to think though. you can't dwell on the negative. it's still hard to picture life without my parents around. i can't really do it.
a bit later in the night my dad brought scott and i to the basement. he told us he wanted us to hear something. he played a chet atkins song, called "i still can't say goodbye" and tears formed in his eyes as he listened. my dad's really quite a strong man. i think i've seen him cry 3 times, maybe ever, but this song was so touching and i can understand his relation. the lyrics are below but before you read them, you should know about a story. my dad used to climb on the shelves in his dad's closet and try on his clothes... to try to look like him when he was younger. so those words especially rang true for him. anyway, here are the words to a very touching song:
When I was young, my Dad would say
Come on Son let's go out and play
Sometimes it seems like yesterday
And I'd climb up the closet shelf
When I was all by myself
grab his hat and fix the brim
pretending I was him
No matter how hard I try
No matter how many tears I cry
no matter how many years go by
I still can't say goodbye.
He always took care of mom and me
We all cut down a Christmas tree
He always had some time for me
Wind blows through the trees,
Street lights, they still shine bright
Most things are the same
but I miss my Dad tonight.
I walked by a Salvation Army store
Saw a hat like my daddy wore
Tried it on when I walked in
Still trying to be like him
No matter how hard I try
No matter how many years go by
No matter how many tears I cry
I still can't say goodbye.
of course, watching my dad tear up made me tear up. i just saw how much he missed his dad. my dad very rarely shows weakness, in fact, he always seems very unaffected by life. i know that isn't the truth, but he's not a negative guy and would never complain or let someone know that something is really getting him down. so, it's rare i see him vulnerable. and that was part of it. and part of it was, standing next to my dad, on fathers day, appreciating him and realizing how short life is, and how important it is to remember moments like this one forever. i'm sure it's not easy to lose a parent, but we are so fortunate to have memories. and i never want to forget this one. it was a brief moment, but a powerful one. i'll never forget it.
Posted by amy j. at 9:42 AM
Thursday, June 17, 2010
my parents anniversary is this Saturday. June 19.
i got them a card that brought me to tears, partially because it's actually perfect wording in my opinion, but partially because it rang so true.
i'm happy to have been raised in such love and i'm happy that i learned love from two great examples. my parents are truly still best friends. it's amazing. not only have they been married 39 years, they've been dating far longer than that. i think it would be something like 46 years if we did the math. it's not that they're perfect or never have disagreements, it's just that they know how to handle them. i have yet to see anything negative in their relationship, and i'm so glad i grew up seeing such love. i know i am lucky for it and i hope to stay as happy as they do in my life. it's quite an accomplishment, and builds quite a family.
i wanted to keep the words of the card before i seal the envelope. i really like the words.
"Mom and Dad,
The story of our family
is made up of many things--
from silly jokes
to good-night kisses,
to summer vacations,
from hard good-byes
to the most joyous homecomings.
The story of our family
is made up of love
all the things
that really matter.
And at the heart
of our story
will always be
the two of you.
aw, that last paragraph makes me tear up every time. it's the perfect card for them.
Posted by amy j. at 12:12 PM
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
i have to say i wasn't done speaking after my last post.
i haven't slept well since monday, since my dad got the news. last night i was crying in bed and just doing my best to explain to Scott how life isn't fair.
i've been thinking about the parallels of life a lot, and the circle of life as well. all i can say at the end of all of this thinking is that i wish i could do more. i feel so completely helpless at this point, and there is no one i would rather help more in this world.
as for the parallels, i've given so much thought as to what my parents have given to me in life. first of all, life itself. i'm lucky to even have them as my parents. chance isn't always a perfect thing but i can't think of anything more perfect than my parents being my parents and i am so grateful for that every day.
beyond the obvious, they've taught me patience. grace. love. acceptance. i can't imagine my life any differently. sometimes when i think about my mother not being able to have children biologically, it baffles me. she is a born to be mother. at the same time, i do believe this was all, meant to be. i can't imagine my family any differently and i feel fortunate to have landed where i landed, if that makes sense. my mother is the most giving woman i have ever met. if i become half of the mom that she has been throughout my entire life, i'd be honored.
and my dad, well, i can't say enough about him. i think he's the reason i didn't cut myself short, ever, because i had a positive male influence in my life. i think he's my rock. he's what i have when i have nothing else. on a hard day, i have my dad. rough interview, my dad will lift my spirits.
i don't know what else i can say to explain how blessed i am. and perhaps it takes hard times to realize it, but i'm so lucky to have it all of the time.
i love you mom and dad, and i know you both very well. and i know that you'll get through this.
Posted by amy j. at 1:14 AM
most times in life when something seems to go wrong, or something hurtful happens to someone, i always like to think that it may be for a reason. and maybe that reason won't come for five years, or even twenty years, but in hindsight it will eventually all come together and make sense in some grand plan.
now, is this the way the world works? who knows. i certainly don't. i have certainly found that in my own life, a lot of times when i think something is the end of the world, it turns out not to be at all. and that things heal with time. and that while one day the universe and life can seem so overwhelming to me, another day will come at another time that makes me realize that looking back on that overbearing day, it was all part of this grand scheme and mad me stronger and better for some reason or another, or led me to a path i wouldn't have otherwise discovered.
maybe it's just my own way of coping with things, to hope that something comes later in life that makes it all make sense. or maybe it's really true. i don't know. what i do know is i can't find any rhyme or reason for the phone call i received this morning.
i heard my phone vibrate and i was in the other room with Ben, the little boy i'm currently nannying for. i figured the call probably wasn't that important and i'd check the message and get back about it later. well, it was my dad who called and he called to ask me not to email me at work anymore... because he no longer worked there.
when i heard his message and his seemingly positive, strong voice say this on my voicemail, my stomach dropped within seconds.
see, my parents have been on quite a ride the past ten years or so. when i was in college, my dad's company started changing drastically and a lot of business moved to mexico. different people came to be in charge, and the company was entirely different and resulted in the first job loss. and it's been a journey since then. three more jobs, one out in california requiring a move, and one in new jersey requiring him to work from a distance. to avoid all the details, i'll leave it at this: he has been, at no fault of his own, through a career nightmare, and late in his career. and it has not been fair. i think we were all hoping that this job would take him into retirement.and when i heard that message, i was crushed.
it's not that i don't think he can handle it. in fact, it's quite the opposite. i think if anyone can handle it, my dad can. and i know that when things seem too big for me, or beyond my means of control, my dad is the first person i turn to for that very reason--he knows how to handle things and how to make huge tasks seem small. he's great at keeping things in perspective. that being said, i don't think it would be HUMAN if he wasn't hurt and tired of this whole thing, and that is what kills me the most.
it's hard for me to understand that the same person who taught me to love so openly, so unselfishly... the same guy who has retained my logic for me when i am unable to, at times of personal crisis... the strongest man that i have ever met, with the best outlook on life, is going through this again. it just seems ironic, and i can't make sense of it. in fact, i'm writing right now because i don't know what else to do.
i spoke to my dad earlier, and i didn't know what to say. i asked him, "how are you?" and his response, like no one else's would be, was "Good!" and all i could think was, "Good? really?" i mean, he may have meant it but i will never understand how. but that's just his charm. he'd never accept pity, and that's what gives him strength. many people in this world are quick to say "woe is me" when anything happens, and i don't know where my dad learned this, but he's certainly quite the opposite. and even if he feels that way, you'd never know it and he won't tell you. i can't say i've seen this characteristic in too many people i've met in 28 years. and i've met some great people, and some absolutely positive people, but very few who i could say would be able to say, "hey, i'm okay, and how are you" after a day like that.let me say one more thing.... i have yet to hear anything from my dad about how hard things are. i love him for that and i hope to be that strong someday.at the same time, i can't stop thinking of the little things. i can still picture myself at six years old, riding my first Huffy bike, pink and purple, with training wheels, but most importantly, not being afraid because my dad was right there with me, and i fell he'd pick me up. that's what dad's are for.
and that is why i don't think i can make sense of this.
i mean i have been thinking about it all day. i can't stop thinking about it. i just feel so absolutely helpless about it all, and i can't think of anyone in the world i'd rather be able to help. i realize all of the chatter about the bad economy and people being out of a job, but...i just can't seem to understand why the world doesn't recognize good people anymore. it breaks my heart to picture my dad going through this at almost retirement age, and although i know he has the strength to go to the next step, i just wish i could snap my fingers and get him there.
of course, i can't do that, so i will do what i can to help... which is to help him get his resume out there again, to be a listener when he needs one, to pass along any possible leads, and even more importantly thoughts and prayers until this is all figured out.
and i know it will all be okay, someday. these times aren't easy for anyone. and i know that if anyone can handle it, the strongest guy i know can.
i love you, Dad.
Posted by amy j. at 12:54 AM