Sunday, June 23, 2019

How many lawyers does it take?

Sometimes lately when I sit down to write, I start out with high hopes of all the latest news and normal, but maybe not so fun things the Walters are up to.... but I end up depressing myself and everyone else in the world about subjects like death and loneliness and fear of being alone for the rest of my life.  Which I believe probably has a diagnosed syndrome name and I just don't know it... and has been a part of me as long as I can remember.  And since Fireman Dave isn't around to confirm or deny, you'll have to take my word for it that I put off and put off again and again the actual part of saying I do... for years.  Years.  Years that we lived together, laughed together, built a life together, but many without a silly piece of paper naming us husband and wife.  Because I was so afraid that if I said yes, and announced to the world that Kristi had something good happening, that something bad would happen.  That right there is a book in its entirety dealing with dysfunctional and abusive childhoods and the marks that we as parents leave on our kids - good and bad.  

But the end of the story is that I finally signed on the dotted line and we lived happily ever after, until we didn't.  38 years of friendship, 26 years of love, 19 years of a signed contract saying we were official in the eyes of the law.  And the Baptists.  

And the fact that my wonderful husband stuck by me and my baggage for so long without a written contract saying he had to, speaks volumes about the man I loved.  Note the past tense.  Today is one of those days that I can reference the past to describe my present.  There are other days that I just don't have words of any sort to say much of anything.  Thus the silence so much now on the blog.  

And I know that this isn't the happy, beach reading, fashion filled blog post that summer people look for and can read in a 2 minute sitting, but it is a post full of lessons being lived and learned every day as I try to make a path for myself all over again.

From the time I was old enough to have reasonably mature adult thoughts.... one of my constant companions was the idea of everything I ever enjoyed, loved, or needed going away from me.  And I think, looking back decades from where it started, all of it tells a pretty good story of a young person living out of a smallish space, with a smallish bag of life's emotional necessities, always ready to run to the nearest safe place.  And for me, that safe place was more often than not, Fireman Dave - from a very early age - who saw who and where I came from, and decided to buy into the  deal anyway.  

And for that I am forever thankful.  And forever mad at him for leaving me 7 months ago today on a perfectly good Friday night.  Sort of like that time I thought he ditched me on an anniversary trip out of town and at, of all things, a bluegrass festival - and I got desperate enough to make eyes at the banjo player in the event I needed a ride home.  Turns out Fireman Dave was one step ahead of me and making his way back to my assumed point of desertion -  with the car  - so I wouldn't have to walk all the way back to the hotel in the dark.  See why I loved him?  See why I'm so mad that he isn't doing all the nice things for me anymore?  I think I'm generally mad at life on that point - and I just fill in the blanks with my sweet husband's name - for emphasis and all.

And I think it's not so much that I'm a giant scaredy cat/crybaby - just that I'm about 30 years out of practice on most of the practicalities of life.  I'll admit that I'm sort of a scaredy cat and a giant baby when it comes to certain things - but on the other hand, take me back to my emotional and physical roots, meet me in a dark alley and provoke fear, and I have full confidence that I will take you out before you get the chance to explain that you only need to borrow a quarter for a cart at Aldi, please.

Anyway, as some of you may have noted on my public parent poll about driving Kid 1 to college, far, far away - I'm hoping for a clear sinuses day, blue skies, and no major events as we make that trek.  Because I have enough experience with both planned and unplanned Walters' events to know that .... most times we break things, sometimes we desperately need a tow truck, and sometimes one of us ends up dead.  And I think that it's not the actual driving portion of the upcoming college weekend that has me all worried - it's the fact that I. AM. IT.  in the parent department now.  And should something happen to me, well, that's more than I can stand the thought of right now for my kids.

But good things are happening because of lots of hard work, persistence and a promise that I have made to myself and my loves that Fireman Dave's sacrifice and commitment to his job, this family and this community will be recognized and honored for all that it was.  And we have been invited to be special guests at the upcoming Dallas 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb on September 7, to recognize him, along with others who have given their lives in service.  So with that, a riddle:   How many lawyers does it take to get the Walters back up and running in a timely and satisfactory fashion?  Right now the answer is 2.  Soon the answer may change to 3, depending on my progress with the benefit issues with this lovely City we call home.  And I'm just gonna go ahead and plead with all I have left in me for you and all the people I love to get both your living and dead acts together - for the love of all things holy, please.  Save your surviving spouse the need for regular anti-aging treatments and a new found love of coupon shopping by just taking care of your business.  I know a few great lawyers who can get you up to speed in no time. 

And on that note.... should you need to know anything or everything about firefighter lung conditions and how those ugly words can turn into something even uglier, trust that I am your resident expert.  If you are a current medical or law student and need to miss an exam on any of these topics, I'm your gal.  You can thank me for my careful research and expertise with a gift of hair highlights to keep me as dazzling as my small talk at parties.   

And finally.... a few updates on this and that:

Y'all, this happened:

And I was totally good till Engine 55 pulled up and surprised us - in an amazing, thank you for being there for us, now I'm gonna have to go look in the mirror and check some stuff out sort of way. 

And here is a great day hanging out with Kid 3 a couple of weeks ago on a trip to Ham's Orchard and a little antique shopping on the way.  And no, I didn't cut my hair off.  This was about the time I decided to pull it all back since I kept getting barbeque sauce all up in it and mere seconds before my sandwich blew away.  Oh, the memories. 

And Kid 2 is on his magnificent journey to Europe for 10 days.  Y'all, as we speak - and I am proud of how hard he worked and saved to make this trip happen.  He, his daddy, and a little help from some friends sent this Kid on a growing up adventure of a lifetime. I wish I had a picture to show you, but turns out our phone plan is anti-Europe and I've had only sporadic contact with him these last days.  Imagine a cute blonde kid in front of a castle or two.  

And of course, for those of you who keep up with my darling friend, Loyce, yes, the answer is, I still love that girl and love on that girl.  She turned 14 in March and I loved being able to send her swimming for her very first time for her party.  She chose a green 2 piece swimming costume and had a day she will always remember.  And if you are reading this, my sweet yet secret friend who contributed to Loyce's fun - thank you for loving the Walters - the American ones and the African one.  Can't y'all see the resemblence?    

And I guess I will leave this today with a continued thank you for those of you who are still hanging with us on this new road.  When I look back over the last year and count the obstacles that life has thrown in my way, I have to question what it's all about.  And by it, I mean, IT.  Life.  In the last year I was reintroduced to my mom - with her mind totally gone and her body almost, I was given the opportunity to say some much needed things and hold her hand for the first time that I ever remember in my life.  Weeks after, I lost her again.  4 months later I lost the love of my life on what started out to be a really, really good day - and then turned into something I can't even yet accurately describe.  And in the last week I've sent a kid to Europe  - parentless, no less, and I understand he is having some digestive issues that he could use some help with from a mom stand in, please.  And hopefully the final life changing event, but I realize with no guarantees, I'm sending a kid off to college in about 6 weeks. 
So when a person asks me if I'm okay, I tell them that it really does depend on the day.  Then I think to myself how I actually prefer to spread out my tragedies a little more than what actually happened, and then move on to spend some time wondering the whole, Why me? thing.  And if you comment that it is because God has a plan and purpose for all of this, I will drive to your house and ....  Or maybe just forgive and ignore your ignorance and stay away from you and most other people even more than I normally do.  I'm as of yet undecided.  

And that's sort of where I am today.  Good, bad or in between.  Powerful, confused, weak and desperate.  Determined, discouraged, encouraged, exhausted.  But I remember on one of our first days home after Thanksgiving, telling the boys that we just have to find the tiniest little pieces of joy for now.  Tiny pieces to encourage to look for more later.  But it's in the realization that life as it is now won't change in any way other than the way I try to shape it, that gives me reason to keep up the battles that I have taken on for me and my kids.  I keep telling myself, in particular last week when the Dallas City Manager gave me the evil eye at a meeting, that for whatever reason, I got a fire lit in me for the purpose of change.  And not only for the Walters, but for that young Dallas Police officer's widow that I took with me to a recent City Council meeting.  And for all the other spouses that may not have the strength to stand up for what's right in the middle of her grief.  I'm doing it for her, too.  For now, anyway, until I find out that I'm no longer the person for the job.  But that's not today. 

Would you like to comment?

Love your comments. Leave Your comments.