Monday, March 31, 2014

The Girl in the Snow Globe

When I was a little girl, my Dad used to pack my lunches for me.  Thinking of it now, his lunches were both the best...and hilarious at the same time. I remember being so excited to see what was in store for me each day. What kind of sandwich would I have? Would there be anything else of interest in the box? I would open my lunch box to a sandwich labeled with some kind of name: Dog Breath, Cactus Face, Snidely Whiplash (or some kind of weird nickname).  My sister, was always 'Little Weasel'. Even as I sit here typing these nicknames out, I am busting out laughing--because if you don't know my dad, then you don't understand what kind of person he is.  Thus, you would not find these names funny.  Sometimes, Dad would write interesting bits of wisdom on my sandwich bag.  Bits of wisdom, that would only come from either him or my Uncle Greg.  Bits of wisdom that are not for the faint of heart....or someone who is about to enjoy their lunch:

"He who goes to bed with itchy butt, wakes up with stinky finger."

Yes.  This was on my sandwich bag.  Yes.  The people I went to school with saw this bit of wisdom--and were either grossed or weirded out.  That's my dad, though.  Unique in his own, Willie J kind of way...and I wouldn't trade him for the world.  Ever.  

During this time (3rd grade and on---that I can remember), my dad often traveled.  Every Sunday morning, we would wake up and go to church.  Dad would pick us up from Sunday School, take us to the grocery store--and then go home and pack.  I can remember sitting in the middle of Mom and Dad's bed...watching him pack his single, brown leather backpack.  He would often ask me what I was going to do at school, and we'd participate in random banter.  When he was finished, he'd place his bag by the front door, kiss my mother, sister and I goodbye, put his black Reeboks on...and leave.  I would stand at the screen door, wave--and watch his green Cadillac STS drive down Deerpath Road. These were the days, where I really have to give my Mother mad props.  She did everything.  Made dinner, took us to practice, helped with homework, taught me how to ride a bike.  She was a one woman act when Dad was gone...and for that she is amazing.

I digress...per the usual.

So my lunches.  When Dad did come home from his business trips, it was back to sandwich  making.  Mostly because, Mom never really did enjoy making lunches.  She did it, but it wasn't her favorite Mom thing to do.  I remember Dad's lunches around the holidays.  I'd flip open the lid of my blue lunchbox to find candy in addition to my Diet Pepsi, sandwich and chips (yes, I drank Diet Pepsi as a kid...back off me).  Sometimes, though--there would be other hidden treasures in there, along with my meal.  One day, I opened the box to find a yellow Post-It with a note scrawled in Dad's all too familiar messy handwriting.  It took me a minute to make it all out, but it was simple, and special:

Merry Christmas Boo Bear.  Have a great day. Love, Dad. 

Underneath the Post-It was a small clear baggy with what seemed to be a necklace inside.  I quickly pushed aside the other items in my lunchbox, and picked up the clear baggy.  It was, indeed a necklace.  Undoubtedly purchased in an airport somewhere. Regardless, it was awesome.  Hanging, on a red string, was what seemed to me, to be a Christmas Mouse.  He had mittens on--and a hat...but that wasn't all.  This mouse, was inside the smallest plastic snow globe.  When you shook it, everything sparkled around him; and in that moment---everything was perfect.

Now, maybe I am analyzing this mouse in a snow globe too much.  However, there's about to be some more analysis up in here---so if you're not up for it...then stop

For many years (I would say grades 3-5) I wore the snow globe mouse necklace around the holidays.  I really didn't care what anyone else thought about my mouse.  I thought it was awesome.  When I couldn't wear the necklace anymore, I placed it in my jewelry box--and every so often would pull it out and shake the glitter around--just to see everything come alive. I'm not sure where this necklace is now. I bet it's somewhere in my storage unit---sitting with the rest of my personal belongings. 

A few weeks ago, my Dad had a severe bloody nose. It bled all day, to the point where nothing would stop it. So, with tampon in nose, I took him to the ER. We sat there for hours, as the doctor attempted multiple remedies for his bloody nose. In between these different remedies, Dad and I would banter back and forth, per the usual. He then said something (and I can't remember quite what it was---so I'll give you the basis of it) that got the wheels in my head turning:

"I can't wait to have grandchildren, so I can teach them everything and then give them back to you...."

I just smiled and nodded. Deep down inside, it broke my heart. Not for me, but for him. I've always imagined that I would get married and have children---and that both of my parents would be able to participate in these joys. Yet, here I am, just starting over. Learning what it is to be young---because I was old for so long. I'm not sure if that makes sense---but it's the only way I can explain it. 

A few months ago, I wrote about the pressures I was putting on myself to find someone and settle down. When I really paused to think about the way I feel sometimes, the only way I could think to explain it---was to compare it to my snow globe necklace. I sometimes feel that I'm that mouse. Just chillin. Stuck inside the glass (or in the mouse's case, plastic), watching the world go on around me. In that world, people grow, they find new paths, they change. In my glass world, things stay the same---and yet I continue to watch. Everything seems monotonous....until, someone shakes that world up. The quake revealing nothing but glitter. A change. Beauty. However, eventually that all settles---and it's business once again. 

So I thought about this analogy. A lot. Some of it rings true. Yet, I could compare this to the life of anyone I know. A typical day-in-the-life is not all fireworks and acrobatics. It's life, and whether I would like to admit it or not, writing this post has helped me to realize something:

I am changing. More and more each day. 

I know I want many of the things that others have: love, a family of my own...but I've also realized that right now I need to have other priorities. The world may be moving around me, but I'm running just as fast to catch up with it. Perhaps, I need to find my own pace instead of trying to keep up with the world. 

I hope that someday, my Mother and Father will be able to experience the joys of grandchildren. I sometimes feel as though I let them down when everything fell apart last year. I pray, that my dad will be around to walk me down the aisle someday---and to dance with me on that special day. But, you know what? For right now, I'm going to be young. I'm going to keep making the changes that I see fit, in order to be able to enjoy myself, love myself, find myself. 

I'm already miles ahead of where I was this time last year. At this rate, I've broken through that glass---and have hit the ground running. I've kept a little glitter, though, because what's life without a little glitter?


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