The Gifts

My mom passed away in 2007; it was not quick and it was not painless.

She left me a legacy of love and strength. She left an example of determination and stubbornness with a healthy side of crazy.  Over the years since she has been gone, I have come to love, understand and appreciate the Crazy on many levels.

She left me Material things that mattered once; however, the shine has faded and the taste for it is now dust in my mouth. What I savour are the memories of the experiences with her, her laugh (especially at her OWN jokes), her quick tongue and her sharp wit, her speeding habits that went with the road trips, her coffee addiction, her huge heart  … her many things that she was are imprinted on me forever.  I will always carry them with me to marry with the experiences yet to come.

One of the best gifts she left me is Sieg.

When Sieg and I first met, we could not have known that this would have been our experience. We have often stood toe to toe and even fist to cuffs.  I have thrown things at him and even said very unladylike verboligy (if that’s not a word – it is now).  Sieg’s and my mother’s relationship began as his marriage was ending – and yes, there was an overlap – and yes, it was quite scandalous.

We suffered through the ebbs and flows of a blended family (5 children in total). I believe our hearts only expanded (sometimes painfully) to make room for all. It was messy and imperfect – but no parent gets up in the morning to do harm to their children, and I believe everyone got up every day doing the best they could with what they knew at the time. – Please fully understand that this is a place I have come to in my adulthood. At the time I had no qualms about expressing my distaste for the entire state of affairs, and I preached multiple sermons from my frail overused soap box of contempt and adolescence.

And all the while I was preaching, pouting and plotting, Sieg was LOVING.

When I was hospitalized with an eating disorder, I was hysterical. I was terrified of needles; he held my face, stroking my cheek and turning  my head away, and he talked soothingly until I calmed down and they could find a vein. He would get off work late and sneak in after visiting hours to be with me. One night I wanted him to wait to tuck me in (at 14 years old).  I drew the curtain knowing he was tired and he laid on my bed until I returned from my shower. In my absence the nurses had discovered him and were trying to make him leave – but he wouldn’t, not without kissing me goodnight.

When I got my first serious boyfriend, he ran interference, going so far as to force the boy into his vehicle to “have a talk”.  Can’t have been that scary because I married the boy 5 years later. 😉

When I was thrown from my horse and trampled, ribs broken, skull fractured, concussion, bruised … Seig gently bandaged me, and, in fact, I would not let anyone else change the dressing.

When I ran away from home – he came and got me.

When I chose to leave home for a safe place – he packed the truck.

When I had my first baby girl – he loved on her like she was the only baby that had ever been born.

When I left my first husband – he showed up with a trailer and helped me pack.

When I got pregnant with my second  – he shook his head and said, “FAaaKin Kids!”

BUT, when I had my second girl,  he hovered over, protecting and documenting pictures and videos of the precious cargo in abundance.

When I called him to pick up the girls, that I “just needed a break”,  he came without question, checking in on me and realizing I had overdosed. To my protest that I “just needed rest”,  he scooped me into his pickup and took me to the hospital – again holding my face.

When my mom was sick, I watched him love her, hold her and help her. I watched him sit with her, and bath her and rally her.

And when she passed, he stood behind my sister and me,  wrapped his hands around our waists and held us up as we shopped for caskets and just said “whatever you girls need”

Even when we would fight, he would always come back in LOVE. He would not be dissuaded, even when I specifically told him to give up, and I insulted and hurt him- he rallied in LOVE.

My sister and I always knew he loved his boys to the ends of the earth; they walk on water and are the light in his eyes. I now know that he chose us with them, never above and never beneath,  always WITH. This is something again that I have come to KNOW in my adulthood.

I have also realized (in my adulthood) that I looked for him when I looked for someone to share my heart with.  I realized that when I am upset (and I have been able to have a conversation about it out loud and not just in my head),  Mike scoops me up, holds me, and  doesn’t take no for an answer when I refuse his love. I watch Mike converse with the kids, always protecting them, always providing a safe place for them – for all of us.

I am so thankful for all that Seig, MY DAD,  taught me – I was watching;  even when I wasn’t  listening,  my heart was hearing. AND I AM GRATEFUL.

I am in a stage of parenting right now that is so frustrating – nobody is listening! These memories that have come flooding back to me the past days reminded me that their hearts are always hearing what we are doing. Be encouraged as you show your children LOVE – they hear you; they see you, and they will remember what you taught them when you thought they weren’t listening.

THESE are the GIFTS that taste never sours or spoils and the shine never wears off – these GIFTS can be passed as heirlooms from generation to generation.

…. And it’s a beautiful thing to be a witness to.