“A Rare Bird” Indeed, Indeed…..

Three years ago, on the second day of the school year, I went onto FB and saw all these postings from women saying how sorry they were to a woman named, Anna Whiston Donaldson. After only a few minutes of digging further, I found out why. On that day, Anna’s 12 year-old son, Jack, had drowned in a freak accident, during a tropical rainstorm.

I went to Anna’s blog, and the first thing I saw was her latest post, which included a picture of Jack and his sister, on their first day of school, each one holding up a card indicating their ages and what grade they had just started. Anna’s post was, as usual, light and funny, and as she was prone to be, somewhat self-deprecating, which is why I loved this gal so much.

As I sat there, trying to wrap my head around the fact that this scene had taken place only twenty-four hours prior, my mind just kept saying, “This isn’t possible. Not this kid. This kid is alive and healthy, he has to be, LOOK AT THIS PICTURE, IT’S RIGHT THERE, “HAPPY AND HEALTHY”! It was as clear as day. This kid wasn’t gone. This kid wasn’t taken from the earth. That can’t be. There were too many others who deserved to meet this kind of fate. They were unkind, and dishonest, immoral, evil, call it whatever you want, but in the line of who should leave this earth first, I had a list a mile long and THIS KID was not on it.

So WTF?

As I write this, I can still feel that same sense of disbelief but I know, in my head and heart, it is real. Jack is gone. I’m now going to interrupt this post to stand up and scream F**K!!! as loud as I can but I will return momentarily…..

Okay, I’m back.

This month, Anna’s book entitled, “A Rare Bird” will launch to what, I hope, will result in a huge crowd of people wanting to read her story. I did. I had to. Why? Because I needed to know how the hell does a mother survive such a loss. I’ve been through divorce and it took me to some very dark places in my mind. I had moments, many moments, of thinking I couldn’t go on, that I just couldn’t bare the pain anymore and yet, here was Anna, still living, still breathing…..

Anna is also a woman who deeply believes in God and is a faithful churchgoer. I, on the other hand, am a deep believer that there cannot be any God out there, if he/she allows an innocent child to be taken from us, ever. I knew by the time I’d received this book that Anna was still, very much, a practicing Christian, and I had always been curious to understand how she could continue to be a believer after all that had happened.

I confess, I expected to be overwhelmed with page after page of bible quotes and paragraphs of how “it was God’s will” and “meant to be” et al. To be honest, I envisioned myself rolling my eyes and putting down the book by page ten, because here was another person, spouting quotes from Luke, and John and all the other fellas, and never actually mentioning how perhaps they might just be a tad angry at their God for letting this happen to them.

Oh how wrong I was. I finished this book in two days. I couldn’t put it down and I don’t say that lightly. This woman ripped open her heart and told her true story. She let us see how much she struggled with her God, her faith, her husband and all those around her. She showed parts of her that she wasn’t proud of, she laid it on the line as it really was and although there were those quotes that I dreaded reading, in this scenario, they had to be shared because Jack was a big believer, like his mom, and it was a big part of who he was as a person and a major source of inspiration to him as to how he chose to live his life.

I had zero plans on writing a post like this. This blog is humor-based, but like most of us, I’m growing and so is my blog. I stopped writing, even posting at all, for two months because I believe I had my own crisis of faith. I still am not a “believer”, per se, never will be. The faith I had lost, was the faith in me, in the world of blogging over all. I had lost my sense of purpose but today, I would say, I have found it. This “brand” of mine is humor-based, but from here on in, it shall be about whatever is in my heart and what is in my heart isn’t always funny.

Ah, the gift of growing older. You trust that others will follow you on your journey and if they don’t, it’s really okay. You understand that we all have our choices to make and this is mine.

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Not Smarter Than any Grader

Next week is Phoebe’s first day of fifth grade. I’m nervous because apparently things (read: homework) are going to get very ramped up and I haven’t finished my master’s degree in Math or Philosophy, or Science, so I will again, be unable to assist her. This stuff is going to be hardcore and I guess I’m not feeling very confident because (fill in the blank) is not my strong suit. Maybe if math equations were drawn with pretty colors and tasted like candy, you know if I could LICK the fraction, I might be able to or want to be able to understand it better. History? My version of “history” is remembering at 10am what I accomplished at 9:00am. That is history. Since I had Phoebe, English has become more like my second language. I now speak in movements such as yawning, cutting the crusts off a piece toast I just made for myself because I forgot the toast is FOR ME, not my daughter, closing a lunch box, opening a lunch box, standing with my mouth hanging open with a WTF? expression on my face while my eyes are popping out of my head, because I am a parent of an 11 year-old girl.

At this point, I must address the subject of “Art” and how it is I deal with that. My kid comes home and says she has a project due that involves glue, markers, clothing that she wouldn’t normally wear, cutting, pasting, sewing, etc. I, in turn, pick up my cell phone and call her father to tell him about the project and wish him the best of luck on completing the assignment. We than gather up all her materials, put them in her knapsack, and ship her off to his house. I then reward myself with a nice, big bowl of ice-cream.

However, this is not to say, I have nothing to offer my child. I mean I wasn’t exactly raised by wolves, you know.

Recess, lunch. My kid wants to figure out how to navigate her way around the handball court or end up with a lunch that consists mainly of someone else’s cookies, look no further my darling daughter, mommy’s right here. Re-reading that last sentence makes me sound like I’ve done “time”, so before the rumors start flying, just know that, I have. I was married, remember? High-five.

Wish me luck.

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