Steve Jobs said, "You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future."

I have had this draw to the past lately.  I'm not sure if I'm trying to understand all the dots in my life or trying to find hope that somehow, there is meaning to what we are going through now.  I look at these pictures and so many words and wonders fill my mind. 

Here's a little walk through memory lane... 

This was me as a chunky one year old hanging out on my grandma's sofa.  I lived with her shortly after I was born and for some time, because my mom had been diagnosed with  Non Hodgkin Lymphoma, right after I was born.  She was given just months to live and I was not an easy baby to care for when you are paralyzed and fighting cancer with two other littles under foot. 

Oh...the metal bars were not part of some 1960's high chair, that was my hip brace.  I was born with a congenital hip defect.  Today, it would be called Hip Dysplasia.  My hip socket didn't cover the ball of my hip so that made for useless legs.  As luck would have it, my parents were told I would likely never walk, nor would I bear children. 

When people say to me, "The problems just never stop do they?"  They have no idea how true that is.  I was born into the world of chronic illness.  Almost as if this is certainly where I am suppose to be. 

 I found these pictures of me in my grandma's basement a few years ago so naturally, I stole them.  They were in a dusty box and she was being prepared to be moved to an assisted living Carpe Diem.  Almost 4 years old and I look at those eyes!  I love those smiling eyes, the joy, the innocence, so tender, so pure, unaware and unassuming. 

Oh to be so fierce... though she's not very convincing.  This picture reminds me that you can be brave and afraid at the same time and that can be okay too.

By the time I reached the ripe old age of 10, this little girl was already gone.  I began perfecting the art of disappearing.  In 6 short years, I learned that life was hard and people were mean and haystacks in the field were my sanctuary and dogs were my best friends.  School brought with it relentless bullying and long bus rides.  The only words I remember uttering at school during recess were..."Stop, or I'll get my sister!"  If I didn't say it, I would hear someone else say, "Go get her sister!"  Ha ha...I was a first class wimp!  I hated fighting and contention, I still do.  I will walk away from a fight of any nature. My sister wasn't a bully by any means but the kids seemed to know that she meant business and somehow, those were the magic words.  She was pretty popular and older than me and was my great protector through elementary school.

my brother Chad, my mom and me with Charlie and my treasured necklace- Skinny Dip

That year, all I wanted for Christmas was a ventriloquist doll.  A Charlie Mcarthy doll like the one I had seen on an Edger Bergen show.  Charlie was famous for his double meaning.  That was his gig.  He would say one thing, but meant something else.  Looking back, this was a dot to connect.  I was learning the hard way that people were all about saying one thing but meaning another or worse, doing something different than what they said, or appeared to be.  I practiced for hours how to speak without moving my lips, to say one thing, while saying nothing at all.  I know my parents would probably never admit it but I was their hardest kid.  Everyone else seemed to have a voice and use it. Even now, I would rather write my words than speak them.

One of my other prized possessions was a necklace my Grandpa F. gave me.  He always called me his Skinny Dip because I was so thin.  That necklace, I kept around Charlie's neck, the two things that came to define my world that year.

There were redeeming moments in my life, fence lines I rested upon on the outskirts of a world where I didn't think I fit.  I did end up with that one best friend everyone hopes to find.  Dana.  It was Dana who lived in a hospital and where I learned to accept what life was like there.  It's where I first experienced the holiness in trials.  She taught me that there was kindness in the world and she showed me kindness and love and acceptance.  She saw me as someone who had value, not because of what I could do for her but just because I was me.  There were only a handful or less of people I feel that safe and secure with- they have been few and far between, the ones who stay through the thick and thin.

And then came marriage...and then hard...and then harder...and love became something so hard to define and harder to accept when it wasn't there because I had grown to expect it and need it, but through it all, I somehow ended up with the most loving, perfect children a mother like me could hope to have.  I look back at that first picture of little unsuspecting me and I can't believe where I have been and how I got here and I have learned so much and grown exponentially.  It's somewhat of a miracle really!

Shelbie-5 Sam 2 months and Spencer-3
 Life has been merciless and harsh and many times, we could have allowed it to overtake us and drag us down into bitterness but through it all, we hung on for dear life, we clung to each other as if our lives depended on it...and in a way, they do.  We depend fiercely on each other. There are no three people I would rather journey with...the biggest dots of this tangled up life.


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