Wading Barefoot

Rediscovering my barefoot-self

Another Trip Around The Sun

Last Sunday I celebrated my 54th birthday and It was a very good day indeed. The sunrise that morning made the few clouds in the sky turn to gold, it was beautiful.

I think I might be starting to get the hang of this now that I have a few years behind me, five decades plus – Enough to recognize and appreciate what a gift each day is.

As a little girl I was anything but patient, and not that this has changed – it hasn’t, but I have come to see the benefit of letting time have its way and work its wonders. I certainly have enough experience banging my head against it trying to change its course. No matter how we try, time passes without regard to us.

I was not only impatient as a child, like many little kids I was fairly self-absorbed. I had the hardest time being patient and waiting for anything. My mother, thinking that anticipation was half the fun, always let me know in advance before something special. One instance I recall there being several days before the weekend, when we would go to the mall. Now, if you’re over forty, you probably remember what life was like before malls started sprouting everywhere; sucking our wallets empty of cash and robbing us of time we could better spend outdoors with our family. Yes, the new thing was the mall and back then the nearest one to us was in Natick, about sixteen miles from Foxborough. My father made it sound as if it was half way across the state of Massachusetts. In the mall there was a restaurant called, Hot Shops. It was cafeteria style with full table service. They had the most wonderful roast beast and I looked forward to our trips there with great anticipation.

That Friday after school couldn’t have come soon enough, but there we were heading to Natick. Before we could even get out-of-town there was an accident involving a dump truck, another car and ours. I was in the back seat, not wearing a seat belt because we didn’t use them, I guess nobody did. I had a small slate chalk board in a wooden frame that kept me entertained on the ‘long’ drive and when the dump truck grazed the front quarter panel of my father’s car it hit with such force that the chalkboard split in half while I was holding it. My mother had quite a serious whiplash from the accident and we headed home. My aunt and uncle, both nurses, came running from next door. My uncle brought a bottle of brandy and my mother took a sip or two before going to the doctor. I remember tasting the brandy, it was apricot and I liked it. The picture in my mind of my uncle running across the yard with his brandy always made me laugh, he reminded me of a St. Bernard with a keg on his collar.
Being ‘self-involved’, my problem with the accident was that it interrupted our plans. I remember walking around the kitchen table where everyone was gathered and I listened to them talk to mom. I got more and more concerned that we may not go at all if she didn’t feel better. Little did I know what she was going through, I was a kid and all I could think about was how bummed I was.

It’s not easy to gain a perspective of history until you’ve experienced some for yourself. For example, at eighteen I got married, certain it was meant to be. When my parents suggested that we “wait a year or two” I was shocked that they couldn’t understand how important it was that it happen Now, Now, Now. How could they not see how right it was? A little over a year later we became parents. She was as perfect as a rosebud, a beautiful little girl we named Victoria. She was less than a year old when our marriage ended. Just like that, it was done. We walked away and it was over.
Would I change anything? Definitely not. I learned more about myself during those painfully lonely times than I could possibly have known otherwise. Watching the sunset alone night after night eventually made me stronger, I learned how to appreciate my own company and from there I was no longer alone.

About seventeen years later, my beautiful rosebud of a daughter came to me with her boyfriend; they wanted to get married right away and would I sign a consent?
Only Seventeen…
I couldn’t believe the irony as out of my mouth came the same words that shocked me when my parents said them. I signed the consent and they went on to divorce 11 years later. Would waiting that ‘year or two’ really have made a difference?
-Maybe.
It might have given them a chance to get sick of each other before they committed to a lifetime. It may have allowed them time to learn about each other and then decide, based on experience, not emotion, whether or not marry. Twenty, thirty, fifty years of marriage goes by one single day at a time and will not budge.

I think many times we talk ourselves into doing things that we know are not in our best interest. Maybe we’re afraid of losing our dream if we don’t hurry up and grab it before it gets away… And that brings me to my reason for writing – I am getting better at living in the moment and though I am still impatient, I’m learning not to be pushy about it.

© Kathleen Ryan-McCullough, 2012

July 16, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Three Cheers For Dad

Here in the last few hours before my husband wakes up I am scheming a way to make his morning a bit more special than usual.
Today is father’s day and judging by the skies it looks like that hike in the Columbia Gorge that his son was planning is going to have to be postponed. What to do now? …

I’m hoping he sleeps in today so I have time to get breakfast ready. Homemade biscuits with butter and honey. Mmmm, I’m hungry just thinking about it. I’ll get up here any minute and do just that but first I want to say happy father’s day to all you guys out there that help out at home and with the kids, who mend the fences and put out the fires. The dads who wear a uniform to work and they’re on duty day and night. That cop that just passed you has two little girls at home and that soldier in Kabul just got news that he has a son, born only yesterday. There is a neighbor of yours whose daughter is yet to be born and he watches this day pass and gets a little nervous thinking of next year, yet smiles at the thought.

Dads aren’t perfect, they say the wrong things and act all silly when they should probably be serious, but it’s not about what they do wrong – it’s about what they do right. Dads take time to listen, to teach you how to tie your shoes, to tell a story or stand by you when you’re in a bind. There are no substitutes for the role and you don’t have to be the parent of a child to be a dad. We call them stepfathers; they step in for a missing dad. Not meant to be a replacement, a step father must be a bit daunted by his task. After all most parents have about nine months to get used to the idea before parenting is upon them.

This father’s day I remember mine of course. Raymond Thomas Ryan, born after St. Patrick’s day, 1909 and died just before Thanksgiving in 1982. He had four sons and one daughter. He married my mother, built a house, raised his family and died of lung cancer, nine days after his 50 wedding anniversary. He was a truly good man who was terrified of not being worthy in the sight of his God but in my eyes he was a compass of both bravery and honor. He inspired me and fired my curiosity like no one else ever has. We’d sit at the kitchen table after dinner and plot out our (imaginary) trip across the United States on a map that covered half of the table. I got so excited thinking about the adventure and it fueled my imagination. It also gave me an uncanny sense of direction and that has been a valuable trait to have, thanks dad!

Happy Father’s Day

©Kathleen Ryan-McCullough

June 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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