There Is No Correct Color

My granddaughter will be two in February. I’ve already decided I want to buy her a baby doll and a cradle. Lately she’s been wrapping teddy bears in blankets and referring to them as babies. I want to encourage this nurturing instinct. I hadn’t yet given much thought to which type of baby doll I’d buy but today an old memory came back to me. It happened about seven years ago……..

I met her through my job. She was the Mother of four girls. Her husband worked countless hours so she could stay home with the kids. We engaged in small talk and I learned over time that her girls liked a specific brand of dolls. All four of the girls shared one baby doll. They took turns with her. Each of the girls understood that the doll was expensive. It was not in the budget for each child to have her own.

During a visit to a high end thrift shop one summer day I noticed a doll in a case. I asked for assistance to take a closer look at her. The cashier grabbed a key and walked to the glass case. She removed the doll and placed her on the counter. After asking a few questions, I made the purchase.

I made an impromptu call to the Mother of the four girls. I explained that I’d found another doll. She was extremely excited and begged to pay me sight unseen. I would have no part of taking her money. We made a plan. I would drop the doll off to her in a bag so the kids would not see her. She would put it away until Christmas.

Months went by. I couldn’t wait to hear how surprised the girls were. I showed up to their house in January. I wore a smile from ear to ear as I walked up the driveway.

I knocked on the door as usual but this time I was not offered to come in. I could see the girls through the bay window. They were leaned across the back of the sofa waving at me. I smiled and waved back. The Mom quickly and quietly explained that she’d met me on the steps, afraid I might mention the doll. She went on to say that after she and her husband took the doll from the bag, they placed her right back in there. The doll was the right brand but she wasn’t the color they were looking for. The doll I bought had olive tone skin. They wanted white. They had donated the doll knowing that someone else would appreciate it.

I had no words for her. I shook my head. I went back to that house for years because I had too. It was my job to maintain their pest control. I was always kind, never rude but the boundaries had been defined. Sadly there would never be a true friendship. We could not see eye to eye on equality.

With this said, my granddaughter will receive two baby dolls for her birthday. They will be two different nationalities. She will be taught right from the get go, to love without prejudice.

 

 

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Change

The traffic light turns yellow and I’m hoping the truck in front of me speeds through the light so I can follow. I’m running late. I need to be somewhere ten minutes ago. My wish is not granted and the truck comes to a stop.

The elderly gentleman opens the door to his pickup. He gets out, hikes up his khakis and bends down to gather a quarter and a few pennies from the asphalt. His silver hair catches the sunlight and I watch a few wisps on his head dance out of place. He glances at the traffic light which has now turned green and then he looks my way. I see the blue in his eyes and the wrinkles on his face. He raises his hand in the air as if to say he’s sorry for holding me up. I smile and wave back assuring him that it’s not a problem.

My Dad used to do the same thing. I would hide in the floor board of the car as my Father would pick up loose change at the gas station. As the tank would fill, my Dad would walk up to twenty feet away to collect a penny. I always told him it embarrassed me. His response was usually something like, “Do you like to eat?”

Change. What a word. It’s the only thing that remains the same. It feels like just yesterday my eyeliner was blue and the ring on my finger was a lollipop. Where did my saddle shoes go? At what point did I become so comfortable in a recliner chair at 8:00 on a Friday night? Why is my skin so pale? Is it because I no longer desire the fake tan I held onto just a few years ago? Might it be because I want to maintain the health of my skin? Is it because I am comfortable enough with myself to believe that I look good sharing the same shade of white as a Kleenex tissue? Who knows.

It’s funny. We change our clothes daily but it’s like we don’t notice what is happening. Look back at pictures of yourself ten or twenty years ago. Do you remember going from Chick jeans to Lula Roe? Where did my Jordache purse go? How did I get over here with this Michael Kors bag on my arm?

Change can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It will walk right along side of you and it will stop for nothing. It will be your happy morning one day when your grandchild enters the world and it will be your sleepless night when you get that call that there’s been a terrible accident.

Change will not accept a time out. It’s not going to pull a chair into the corner of your kitchen and go hide its face. It’s here to stay. If it’s the phone call from the doctor saying the tumor is malignant or it’s local grocery store giving away free turkey’s for Thanksgiving, there is one guarantee….

Change has it’s dancing shoes on and its always looking for a partner. Might as well turn up the music and roll with it.

Stuck

Our Dad used to take us with him when he cut and chopped firewood. Our responsibility was to load the truck with small logs. As he ran the chainsaw, we would slip away and climb trees. My step brother climbed a tall Oak one afternoon and got stuck. My Father climbed the tree to help him down.

I was eight when we gathered at my Aunt and Uncle’s home to celebrate July 4th. At least forty of our family members were in the yard enjoying each others company when the state police pulled up. They were there to inform another one of my Aunt’s that her husband had been hit by a drunk driver while riding his motorcycle. He was gone. The memory of my Aunt screaming is forever stuck in my head.

My oldest daughter’s first car was a Ford Focus. She called on her way into work one morning to say she was stuck. She had a flat tire and was on the side of the road. This was a much easier fix then when she was four and got her fingers stuck together with super glue.

My youngest daughter sat with a small cup of Skittles one afternoon watching Rugrats. She was three. I checked on the kids and noticed red liquid coming from my daughter’s nose. At first glance, I thought she had a nose bleed. To my surprise she had gotten a red Skittle stuck in her nose.

Years ago my friend called to tell me her husband had an affair. She said she would remain with him because together they had five children. She claimed they no longer loved each other but they were stuck. They could not afford to separate.

I’d lost quite a bit of weight some years ago. Not noticing that the weight was creeping back on, I grabbed a hoodie from the back of the closet. I pulled it over my head and to my surprise, it was skin tight and I was stuck. I needed help to take it off.

We are all going to get stuck from time to time. I like to assess my reason for being stuck. I also want to gauge the severity of the situation before I exhaust too much time, energy and stress into the matter. I ask myself these questions:

Who? What? When? Where? Why? And how are you going to fix it?

Take for example problems in your life and give it a try. I have found that these simple questions do several things for me. First, they make me focus. Second, I remain calm. Third, I’m left to figure out a way to fix the problem. I do not allow myself out of this one. Most things have a solution.

I love to play the word game Boggle but I have a secret tool when I play. Midway through the game as the timer counts down, I turn the puzzle around. My friends hate when I do this. My reason for this move? I gain a new perspective on the board. Chances are good, I’m going to see at least twenty more words because I’m looking at it from a new angle. Survival is a matter of getting out. Survival isn’t staying stuck in a tree or on the side of the road with a flat. Survival is not allowing bad memories to terrorize you and keep you from moving forward. You can’t live forever with a Skittle stuck in your nose or a hoodie attached to your body.

You’re only as stuck as you choose to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to my blog

I grew up in a town that most people have never heard of and if they have, one of the first things I’ll ask them is if they like devil dogs. Devil dogs are chocolate cakes with cream in the middle. They are addictive. I learned that back in third grade when my step Mom would put them in my Mickey Mouse Club lunchbox. Devil dogs are delicious as long as they are not leaned up against a banana. If they are paired up in the lunchbox, the chocolate cake with the cream filling takes on the taste of the banana and it’s just gross.

Life in that small town in Massachusetts was fun. Whether or not anyone knew where we were on the map didn’t matter to me. I was a kid who was living a pretty fun life.

I grew into a teenager in that small town and I learned quite a bit in my time there. I learned that walls don’t talk. They keep the secrets of their owners. They only develop voices when you embrace the people who live there. Little by little, the secrets behind the paint and sheetrock come to life. And that’s when you crack the plaster. It’s like breaking the code on a safe. That’s when you get the real life stories.

I wish life were as simple as a devil dog and a banana in a metal lunch box but it’s not. Those are just the beginning problems in a difficult world. As we grow, so does the stress, the drama, the complexity of the issue and the sleepless nights that keep you awake wondering if you can face another day while keeping your secrets. As long as the paint is pretty and the pictures are straightened neither you nor the walls will tell any visitor what’s really going on.

My name is Sherry. Welcome to my life.