Grace is found in Glory
A step that starts the road
The past is just a lesson
Leading me to home
Walk past the mountain splendor
Take in the meadow glen
Don’t forget forgiveness
As each new day begins
His words were clear and yet somehow as I dangled between two worlds they meant nothing. In the real and tangible world where grass grew, trees towered and animals walked free, it almost seemed like a game. I played the role of God fearing wife and mother, never stepping over the line. These putrid and abhorrent scenes of humiliation had never surfaced in front of mom and dad. I made sure that everything was “just so” and nothing was amiss on each and every visit. Any concerns over what my parents might say or do were instinctively met with distraction, jibber jabber and a narrow glance that acknowledged my awareness of any potential problem. A much needed household item, groceries that they purchased and words that might be spoken all topped the list of possible offenses and would be scrutinized during hours of discussion in his room. It was a balance that teetered on the edge of sanity and one that was fiercely guarded.
His voice grew in volume with each question until fury reached its boiling point. I cupped the phone and slid from pad seating on the floor hoping his words were muffled and inaudible. I smiled and tugged at my pants pulling ragged seams together as I walked into the hall, leaving dad to read his paper and sip coffee. Each time he raised his voice I walked further down the hall, inching my way towards the stairs. The coffee maker steamed and puffed as it processed another full pot. Dad laughed loudly and sighed as crumpled pages were finally stacked in a pile.
I looked to the porch where mom sat basking in the sun, a far cry from winter in Washington. I waved at her and quickly turned towards the stairs not wanting to draw attention. His voice was persistent and anger built with every question that he posed. I reached the top of the staircase and swiftly made my way to the bathroom. A new level of fear peaked as his words now seemed unreal. Cursing in our home was prohibited and even Geez, shoot and darn were seen as obscene. I sat near the toilet on the cold bare floor staring at bathtub tiles, listening to words that signaled yet another escalation, “These are my children, I am the father, they are shit, nothing, nothing, do you understand?”
Mom and Dad always took us for vacations on Spring break and also in the summer. Mom would plan out our route on her paper map and talk about each stop, packing a cooler with favorite sandwiches, treats and drinks. Anne and I sat in the back asking when when when would we be there. There were so many special times over the years that they have all melded together into one warm feeling of comfort. This is something that I want my kids to experience and I hope somehow we are creating that now.
This week is Spring break! We left last Friday to see Yusuf and Alicia. We have not seen them since Thanksgiving so it always seems too long over the winter but still I know I am very fortunate to be so close!
Our road trip to Seattle was a beautiful blue sky kind of day making farmland, mountains and fields even more vivid.
We arrived Friday evening to Clementine barking at the window!
Saturday Yusuf and Alicia took us to one of the locked room experiences which was more fun than I had imagined. When we went home he whipped up a crock pot meal of pasta while the kids played games with Alicia and Clementine posed for pictures.
Sunday we stopped at a favorite bakery on our way to Pike Place market where Yusuf treated us to breakfast. Alicia stayed home to garden and get ready for the work week ahead.
We took pictures near the water and then walked around looking at fresh produce, seafood and flowers.
After a few hours it was time to leave downtown Seattle and we made our way home, first stopping to purchase some authentic pita bread that the kids require for morning eggs. We then sat down while we waited for a takeaway order of cheese, zatar and lebani breads.
At home the kids played games with Alicia and Yusuf introduced me to a series he has watched and the night came to a close. You might see a theme here that Alicia and the kids love to play games together, unfortunately we did not get any pictures!
It was a wonderful trip and more gorgeous scenery on the way home!
Coffee in the morning
A clock that ticks in time
hibiscus scarlet colors
All put to ease my mind
Each day unfolds with glory
A simple life defined
Renton Washington 1992
We dug into the last piece of cake that had fallen into a pool of chocolate drizzle. Fudge frosting cascaded down the single slice that had somehow gone unnoticed. Forks clanked and laughter rose as we each scooped cream cheese that had melted and mixed with bits of moist pastry. We glanced through the window and saw that the children were still riding trikes, swinging and sliding. A warm glint of sun shone through the large picture window and signaled the end to yet another day of fun. She asked if I would be able to make it to her place the following week and I assured her that it would all work out. I would approach him at just the right time and I jokingly added, that after all he always told people I was the boss so it should be fine.
My words somehow triggered an outburst that sent her into a spiral of hysterics. She stood on one foot and bent over until tears dripped down face. Her calm and casual demeanor had now changed and while a large breath of air passed over her lips she roared loudly grabbing the corner of a cupboard. The children returned to the kitchen and stood staring at her tall willowy figure as she made attempts to compose herself. The mystery had been solved and what had seemed ridiculous now made perfect sense.
There was hope that her husband would no longer harbor such frustration and discontent when she drove from her apartment just 20 miles down the road every other week, carting her three children into our modest home. It was a day that meant no real cooking or housework, time off from the daily grind of diapers, mopping and the chores that make up a household routine. Each week we alternated homes and looked forward to a meal, dessert and little hidden treats that were normally not purchased. The children played for hours and we took turns checking on them knowing that quiet moments most likely meant trouble. They ran outside, carted dirt to the porch and emptied garage sale shoes into a cardboard dresser then pushing it down the stairs! Nothing fazed us as we sat talking, sharing tidbits about our lives, looking forward to this weekly outing.
We sat back down and the children returned to their antics that would be the stuff of future stories. She touched my hand and giggled wanting to explain what had prompted this curious response to an off hand comment made in jest. Her spouse held great contempt and disgust for one woman in particular. She was bold, daring and bossy, never letting anything get past her. She was the kind of woman who made her husband’s life miserable and her unrelenting demands could be seen in every line on his face. At first he made casual comments protesting visits until he finally told her, “That bossy demanding woman is too much!”
She had spent three years trying to convince him that this was far from the truth and she knew of no other wife who adhered strictly to rules and commands, so much so that other women in the community found fault with her. Each time he scoffed in disbelief and told her she would be better off finding someone more suitable, a kind and endearing person. She said no amount of reasoning would work and each time he reminded her of his poor friends words when any request was made of him“Well I have to ask Lynn, she is the boss and nothing gets past her!”