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A Christmas I will Always remember

I don’t write too much about my husband, Eric. Here are three things that tell a bit about him: 1. I nicknamed him The Peace Ruiner, and he’s quite proud of it.  His perfect day would begin with Metallica blaring from his alarm, but I nixed that back in our twenties. 2. He’s happy ALL the time! Every day is a great day that he tries to make even better which is really a wonderful way to live. His positive energy inspires me. 3. He’s as stubborn as me! We are two firstborns that like to have our way. When our power is focused for good, we can accomplish great things. When it’s focused against each other, we’re two storms colliding. It’s not pretty.

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I woke up in 2003

Before Thanksgiving Day 2003 I had been asleep, going through the rise and fall of daily life like waves on an ocean. I believed the key was to make my children’s lives better than my own and to create the fairy tale, the one with the white picket fence, big house, and happy family. Back then I had three major goals: Have a house that my children could call their childhood home, stress education so my kids would go to college, and educate myself and have a career so I wouldn’t be dependent on anyone. I finished my degree, we built the house and my husband, and I set high expectations for our children’s academics. We fell into the rhythm of early mornings, school, after-school activities, bed, and repeat.

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I was on my way across Alligator Alley to see one of my favorite singers in concert.  I stopped to stretch my legs and take a few photos. The giant parking lot was empty. Cars zoomed past in front of me heading across the alley. Just before I climbed back into my car, a man stuck his head out the window of a truck and began howling whistling and barking at me. My first thought was, seriously, this is still happening? How do guys still think this behavior is okay? Then I thought about my manuscript. Of course, it’s still happening it’s why I felt so compelled to write a story about human trafficking.

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They placed her in my arms. I thought they had made a mistake and brought me the wrong baby. She was so big with beautiful dark curls framing her face. When she left to be with who we were told would be her adoptive mother she was a tiny three-month-old that had been with us over two months. I hardly recognized the six-month old I held in my arms. She cried and cried refusing to be set down even for a second. I understood. For the next several months she was either in my arms or my husbands. That summer her brother and sister came to live with us too. They were two and three years old. We had five children under six–seven of us in a two bedroom house owned by my grandparents.

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We took their leashes off and watched as they bolted across the sand splashing in the waves, sunlight on their backs, running as fast as their legs would take them. Their excitement over their newfound freedom filled me with happiness. The pups I once held in my palms were now ninety-pound dogs ready to explore the world. They kept going and going until all we could see were two wagging tails in the distance. Worry seeped in. Maybe we gave them too much freedom? What if they got lost or hurt?

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My mother-in-law was sitting outside a store in her power wheelchair drinking a cup of coffee waiting for her ride when a stranger walked by and dropped some coins into her coffee cup. Imagine her surprise! She had no idea she needed help.

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