Monday, December 15, 2008

I love my husband and children BUT...

There are two things I've loved since way before they were in my lives. I'm going to try to explain those loves. First up is Mickey Mouse. Before I was a year old my Aunt H took her children to Disneyworld for vacation. She brought me home a dress that had Mickey Mouse on it. That Mickey Mouse was an embroidered thing that my mother ended up taking off the dress, transferring to jeans and many other things as I grew. My Aunt H collected Mickey Mouse and quickly realized I loved him too. Every year for my birthday and Christmas some new mickey item would arrive in my hands. I've loved him as long as I can remember. He is everywhere in my home. I have pajamas with mickey on them, a stuffed one sits on my nightstand that plays the harmonica, my built in shelves in my living room have many ceramic Mickey Mouse collectibles, then comes the Christmas tree, and the inflatables in my yard at Christmas time. At one time we had a bathroom that was all done in Mickey Mouse. The husband finally put his foot down and said that Mickey Mouse could not be the decor of the entire house. Maybe I need therapy! LOL
 The love of red was something my grandfather and I shared. He simply loved it's brightness. He has been the most important male role model in my life. He was a simple man with a heart the size of Texas. He was raised in an even smaller town in Oklahoma than the one I grew up in. His father was a blacksmith and his mother did ALL the housework and prepared meals for more than 7 children. My grandfather left home the summer after he finished 8th grade. He joined something called CC camp. That brought him to the town where he would eventually meet my grandmother and settle down to raise a family. He was  in WWII and shot in the arm and in a German hospital for many months before returning home by ship. He worked at a local dairy as a cream taster for several years. He could never drink milk in my lifetime due to this job. He had become a plumber in his off hours and did work in trade for people around town. This led to a job at the post office. He was the maintenance director. He worked there for 35 years and they offered him a great early retirement. He took it and they bought a 20 something foot travel trailer and set out to see the country. Then I was born. My grandmother says that I stole his heart and he never wanted to travel too far for too long because he would miss me. She always teased that I ruined her traveling plans. 
 My grandfather told fascinating stories about his childhood, riding horses, playing instruments with his brothers for money and just plain country living in general. When I questioned my adoption he explained to me that my parents had prayed for a child for many years and when I was adopted God had miraculously changed my blood and DNA to match his so I was no longer adopted but HIS family. I was about 6 years old and suddenly knew I fit in well with him. I went everywhere he went. We worked on tractors, motorcycles, mowed the pasture together. He was the one who had to explain to me that I was a girl because I did all the boy stuff. 
 One day it had rained all morning and by afternoon there was a beautiful rainbow. I asked him to take me for a drive and he did. We must have driven around for close to an hour when he finally asked, "Where are we going?". I answered calmly that we were driving to the end of the rainbow to get the gold. He laughed and drove me around for about another 30 minutes while explaining that there was no end to that rainbow and no gold to be found. He always took time for me and understood me better than anyone. 
 Back to the red. He painted everything red. His hammers, wrenches, sockets, EVERYTHING! It drove my uncle and father crazy that everything had to be red. His trucks were always red too. I share that same love for the color. It's bright, bold and reminds me of this wonderful man who taught me so much in life. 
 Just yesterday after spending a small fortune on this Christmas tree we were driving down the street and there stood a man with a dog begging for money. His dog was dressed in some kind of Christmasy looking stuff. It appeared to be some old tree skirt that he had made into an outfit for his dog. I've always had a soft spot for those less fortunate. As we drove down the street heading home I grabbed the husband's hand and held it tight. Tears began to stream down my face. I was humbled at how much I have and how awful it is that here in our country we have people who are hungry. As I sobbed I explained to my husband the words that will remain with me the rest of my life... Do they not bleed just like me, do their hearts not ache just like mine, do their tummies not hurt when they get hungry just like mine? The husband looked at me, grabbed my hand tightly and said these are just some of the reasons that I love you so much. My grandfather was a wonderful man who taught me the important things in life, the very things that make me the woman I am today. I will always love him and wish I could have just one more day with him. I wish my husband and daughters could have met him. 

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