Echoes Trailer

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Celebrating Motherhood #3

Celebrating Motherhood #3
I wanted everything to be perfect,
In the house where you were born,
Placed your bassinet by a window,
So you would feel the sun each morn.
I watched you grow into a young boy,
Soaring high on your swing set,
Climbing trees to save a baby bird,
Your imagination is growing yet.
One day you were Batman,
The next a cowboy head to toe,
I thought you’d be young forever,
Where did all the good times go?
I’m sure I seemed old-fashioned,
And how I loved to tease each guest,
I hope I wasn’t too embarrassing,
I tried so hard to give my best.
I still love to hear your cheerful voice,
I love to hear you when you sing,
Each moment with you is a memory I keep,
We don’t know what tomorrow may bring.
My child I loved to stroked your hair,
Tried to ease your worried brow,
If I could go back and hold you close again,
I would do it here and now.
© Dianna Doles Petry

Celebrating Motherhood #2

Celebrating Motherhood #2
Often, when I close my eyes at night,
My thoughts drift off to a beautiful sight,
When I was a child in my mother’s care,
And I sat quietly as she brushed my hair.
I learned to pray; “Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.”
I was unaware of the events in her years,
Or how often I brought my mother to tears.
I didn’t see flaws, I loved her embrace,
I was always pleased to see her smiling face,
She lives in her own little world these days,
I’ve become her mother in many ways.
She asks for her own mother in her ninetieth year,
I feel on my cheek the hot sting of a tear,
I wipe it away without a care,
As I bend to brush back her now silver hair.
Her heartaches were many, her blessings were few,
Now her voice falters when talking to you,
To me she’s the woman with arms holding me tight,
Rocking me to sleep at the end of the night.
© Dianna Doles Petry

Celebrating Motherhood #1

Celebrating Motherhood #1
Neglected now is the little tricycle,
Little toy soldiers buried in disarray,
Long forgotten are the story books,
Dust gathers instead of children today.
Many times I prayed by night,
To keep you healthy day by day,
I mopped floors while you slept,
Until the day you moved away.
Neglected now are the little ribbons,
Dolls and teapots meant to teach,
Long forgotten is the swing set,
Daily hugs well out of my reach.
Many times I would kiss you,
Look at you and gently sigh,
Exhausted and sometimes struggling,
Yet content and knew just why.
Neglected now are the movies,
All the music you danced to then,
How I would love to hold you close,
And brush your unruly hair again.
© Dianna Doles Petry

Friday, April 12, 2013

Precious Peaceful Moments

Relaxed as a baby in her mother’s arms,
I close my eyes,
Kick off my shoes,
And hum a few lullabies.

Sprawled in my wooden swing,
Away from the chores and routine,
I can sit and ponder life at leisure,
Slowing the pace of this well-worn machine.

Feeling the still cool earth against my feet,
I think about feeding songbirds,
Happy moments long gone,
Like my father’s soothing words.

Music lingers in with a breeze,
Quickly chasing away my forming tears,
The hum of a lawnmower in the distance,
Is a reminder of the passing years.

Wasn’t it only yesterday,
I plucked flowers and played games?
My life was filled so many people then,
I couldn’t possibly remember all the names.

I breathe deeply and relax again,
While I convince myself I am not old,
I can still dazzle and create joy,
Still offer shelter when the night is cold.

There are never enough of these moments,
Never enough time to find what we seek,
I keep my eyes closed for a while,
Content to swing without taking a peek.

© Dianna Doles Petry

Spring Cleaning and Snack Breaks

For the last few weeks I have been in spring cleaning mode.  I have opened drawers I never open any other time to try to rid them of clutter. I go through my closets in an attempt to get rid of clothes I no longer wear and clothes my ample assets can no longer be stuffed into without my body taking on the appearance of a stuffed sausage roll.

This is a much more difficult task than you might think. I have a sweatshirt with an ironed on photo of my Goddaughter when she was two years old. That was the year her mother gave me the shirt. She is seventeen years-old now and the shirt is stained, faded, and has a couple of small holes but I cannot possibly part with it.

I am the owner of one of the ugliest sweaters I have ever seen in my life and I would not be caught dead wearing it but it has a designer label and I know the friend who gifted me with this paid a good deal of money for it. The sweater reminds me of her zest for living with its vibrant colors and strange patterns. I have to keep this sweater. There is really no other choice.

I own another sweater that I wear every year on January 19th. That is the date my father passed away. I had given him the sweater on his last Christmas. It is very large on me and I have to push the sleeves up to keep them from swallowing my hands but I could never part with this sweater. It’s been washing at least twenty-three times but I still think I smell Old Spice whenever I put it on and it comforts me.

I gave up storing the winter clothes in the summer and vice versa many years ago. I leave my winter sweaters hanging right beside of my summer blouses. I finally figured out there was no real reason for moving all of the clothes around every season except to make more room in the closet. Extra room in the closets means I could store more boxes of memories and to be honest, memories don’t do you much good unless you can enjoy them.

Getting much of anything done here is a real chore and spring cleaning is no exception.  I do the cleaning at the same time I am taking care of my elderly mother. She doesn’t remember what year she was born and she will tell you she just talked to family members who have been deceased for the last twenty-five plus years. She is sure I haven’t fed her since 2001 when, according to her, I gave her biscuits and gravy that had cheese in it.

She wants a peanut butter sandwich every half hour and the other day she was in the middle of eating her dinner when she announced, “I’m hungry. Go fix me a peanut butter sandwich.”

I mentioned the owners of a local garage today and she said, “Are they the ones that had that restaurant?”

“Yes, Mother. They still have the restaurant.”

“They had the best steak hoagies. I think I want one of them.” She said.

Yesterday she said, “I want to go home.”

I replied, “Mother, you are at home.”

“No, I want to go to where I’m from.” She said this with a very serious look on her face and I had tears pooling at the corners of my eyes. Then she added, “That woman that was from there cooked pinto beans and cornbread and I want some of that.”

No matter what I cook or how often I give her a snack my mother always asks, “Do you have any pies? Cake? Cookies? What about Candy?” I guess food is about the only thing she remembers now and the only thing she really enjoys.

Every now and again then though, she surprises me. Yesterday I was lying on the couch trying to find something on television that might entertain her. The young lady living here passed through the living room with her infant and my mother looked up and said, “You were born in the middle of the night and all the nurses wanted to keep you.”

Tears again welled up in my eyes and I said, “Really mother? You remember that.”

“Of course I do.” She answered after a pause. “I was hungry and they held you while I sat up to eat my breakfast! I would have let them keep you if they would have given me some more coffee.”

Maybe someday instead of cleaning out the dust and the closets I’ll sort through my memories and my kinds will smile. I just hope I don’t ask for so much chocolate that I overdose myself with it! I guess food is the last vice any of us have if we survive into old age and our jobs are gone, our children have left the nest, our friends are as old as we are, and material objects just don’t bring us any joy anymore.

Shoot, I guess I should go ahead and clean out that stash of leftover Halloween candy right now while I’m thinking about it……

© Dianna Doles Petry

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Never Ending Thoughts
Sometimes I blurt out my thoughts without stopping to soften my words or make sure I am not stepping on any toes but I never intentionally plan my words to strike with pain. I never purposely use my words in place of a sword to spear anyone in the heart but alas, I am sure it occasionally happens.
I read a post on Facebook today that left me wondering about the opinions we are all so eager to share at times. This particular post stated, “Marriage is a union created for procreation. If you can't have children you shouldn't get married.” I wonder if the person who wrote that statement has any idea of how many infertile couples there are in the world and how many tears have been shed because couples haven't been blessed with a child. I tried, when my children were still under my care, to teach them about ignorance, the cruelty one human could inflict on another, and prejudice. I wanted them to rise above these things. How many women would know they were incapable of conceiving until they tried to conceive, which is normally after the marriage vows have been taken? I am not sure how this post was meant but I can assure you it caused many women who saw it to feel unworthy and hurt.
I have also had a dream on my mind all day. I dreamed it last night and many other nights previously. I was trying to fold my mother’s wheelchair and get it into the back of my truck but I wasn't able to lift it. No one seemed to see me as they passed by chattering about where they were going to eat after they left the doctor’s office or which mall they were going to visit later in the evening. I felt nameless and faceless and when I looked at myself in the side mirror of the truck I realized I was no longer the woman I used to be. I have this dream many nights but the truth is I often feel like an actress playing a role because I am not doing much of anything for myself.
Somewhere along the line, while standing in line at the pharmacy, consulting with doctors, crying myself to sleep at times, and sometimes falling asleep in a chair and waking up with a stiff neck, my steps have slowed and I have started to roll out of bed and jump to active duty without so much as running a brush through my hair. I am no longer a woman standing out in front of the crowd and directing others. These days I am living more in the shadows of my responsibilities.
Most of the time, if someone should ask how I feel, I respond “Fine, thank you.” I say this even if I have only had two hours of sleep or my joints are all throbbing like a toothache. I reply that I'm okay even if my feelings have been hurt or I feel tired and alone. Even when I feel like crap, mentally and physically, I say I'm fine to spare the feelings of those I care about. But if I slip up and say, “I feel like I've been run over by a truck and it kept backing up to run over me again,” I have made someone else feel bad because I admitted I am not fine.
You know, it’s not easy to watch someone you love in pain every single day. It’s not easy to be tied to the house because you're afraid no one else can take care of them like you do. I can take Ibuprofen for the joints that ache and the headache that threatens to make my head explode but there are no drugs or numbing agents to help with the day to day struggles that come with being a caretaker.
I spend my “free time” trying to run errands, making phone calls, making sure all the prescriptions have been filled for an entire family, preparing food, sometimes dropping off food, worrying about my pets, my neighbors, my extended family, insurance forms, paying bills, and often answering the same questions over and over again.
Maybe someday I'll have the time to finish all of the work I have in progress. Maybe someday I'll stop dreaming about eroding like a sculpture in the middle of great sand storms. Maybe someday I won't have to feel guilty when I say, “I hurt all over,” instead of saying, “I'm fine.” For now, I'll just go back to being thankful someone bothers to ask how I am even if they don't really want to know.
For the record, I'm doing just fine.
©Dianna Doles Petry

My Role as a Mother

My Role as a Mother
The last few weeks of my life have filled me with self-reflection and memories. My son’s long-term girlfriend informed him she wanted to end their relationship. She did this on Valentine’s Day right after a long romantic dinner and gift exchange. I have no doubt that my son will eventually move past the initial pain and trauma of this failed relationship and get on with his life. He sometimes dreams impractical dreams but he has a desire to follow those dreams and it keeps him motivated. I tried to see his girlfriend through his eyes but when I heard her laugh at the idea of having a child I will admit to having to take a deep breath and counting to ten before I said another word about anything.
 Two young women in my extended family are going through divorces and dealing with custody issues. One of those two young women gave birth just eight days ago. I have no doubt that the fathers involved in the divorces both love their children. Still, there is a bond between mother and child that no one else can build no matter how hard they try. A mother carries her child for nine months. The child knows her scent, the beat of her heart, and the sound of her voice by the time of the birth. Even adopted children form a bond with their adopted mothers. No other voice or touch ever takes the place of the one that caresses you, comforts you, and sometimes even scolds you when you’re a child.
Being a mother is not always easy. Trust me; there were many mothering moments in my life that were definitely not “Kodak” moments.  For instance, every year on Christmas Eve I ended up at the local emergency room with my daughter. Her nerves got the best of her as Christmas Day approached and she would begin vomiting on Christmas Eve. I never had to worry about her catching Santa in the act as he delivered packages. He had always been down the chimney and was gone by the time we made it back home in the wee hours of Christmas morning. By the time she was seven years-old the nursing staff had a small gift waiting for her when we got there.
Her father was never much help when she was throwing up. In fact, if he came within eye sight of her vomiting, he quickly headed for another bathroom in the house to throw up himself. I won’t even mention the lovely shade of green he took on when the scent of a freshly filled diaper hit the air anywhere within a few feet of him.
One day my son was playing in the neighbor’s yard and I heard him scream out in pain. I saw him fall to the ground and as I headed in that direction he got to his feet, grabbed the back of his head, and started toward me.  No one really knew how but apparently there was a large rock wedged in a tree in the neighbor’s yard. There was a group of children playing hide-and-seek and when my son ran to touch the tree they were using as home base, the rock fell and smashed into the back of his head. I’m not talking about a small rock either.
I immediately grabbed a white towel, soaked it with ice cold water, and placed it on the back of his head. Blood soaked the towel immediately and my son looked at me and said, “Mom, am I going to die?”
“Not on my watch, Son,” I said with false confidence.  I ushered him to the vehicle and was headed off to the hospital before his father was even sure of what had happened.  Eighteen stitches later we returned home to find his father sitting at the dining room table staring at the rock that had hit my son in the head. I wanted to crush the rock with a sledge hammer. His father wanted to take it to work and show everybody what had come out of a tree and hit his son in the head. Men and women think on different wave lengths.
I’ve been the one who nursed broken hearts, upset stomachs, and helped to hide a blemish that developed the morning senior portraits were to be done. I’ve heard doors slammed in frustration, eased self-doubts in teenagers, and cried with my children when they were hurting either physically or emotionally. I have given talks and lectures about the birds and the bees and sat with tear filled eyes explaining death.
I have also been the one to call my children to the mat when they did something dumb or tried to make excuses when there were no excuses for what they had done. I’ve helped them through selfish periods, bouts of immaturity, temper tantrums, and vulnerability.  I’ve doled out discipline and I’ve handed out bandages, hugs, and compassion as needed.
I’m not saying their father didn’t love them. I’m just saying that fathers tend to react differently to things than women do. God left the task of motherhood to women for a reason. Women are nurturers and caretakers by nature. Men are normally the providers and the protectors.
All of my children, the ones I birthed and the ones I gave my heart to by choice, have been blessings to me and each one of them have been my reason for getting up every day and trying to make the world a better place for all of us. 
Most women bring children into this world because children give back the love you give them without being disgusted by your flabby arms or your ten year-old car. With a child in your life the world doesn’t seem quite so unfriendly. I knew my role as a mother meant I had a chance to teach my children tolerance, compassion, and how to think outside of the box.  I knew I had to teach my children to make good choices about how to make their place in the world a happy place. My own children are adults now but I still possess my mothering instincts.
The young women I have here with me during this dark spot in their lives are both good mothers. I see it when I watch them with their children.  I have watched this young mother with the eight day-old infant change every diaper, prepare every bottle, and hold the baby to her chest to comfort the infant and herself. 
To be needed, to have someone who needs you to hold them, to have someone to guide through life and learn from your mistakes and teach you as they make new mistakes is what being a parent is all about. What could I do except welcome these young mothers into my home and my heart? I could do nothing else because I will be a mother to the world until I take my last breath. I would have it no other way!
© Dianna Doles Petry