Category Archives: In My Life

Memories of a Life

Published / by Kim

My former stepfather, Stuart, died after a horrible car accident a few years ago. Stuart and I didn’t have a relationship after he and my mother divorced, but for much of my life he was my father. In fact, he was the only father I ever truly had. He was a complicated man, capable of sinking to very low lows but also capable of incredible kindness and caring. The stories of the lows are many, but since his death, I make an effort to focus on the good things, and those, too, were many.

Two days after Stuart passed away, I found myself sitting in my mother’s kitchen at 3am with my younger brother. We spent the night drinking tequila and talking about his dad. A memory I shared with him that night was one of my fondest, the memory of the first night I met Stuart. He and my mother were dating for a little while and she brought him home to meet me. I think I was about eight years old, maybe nine. What was supposed to happen was that I would come out of my room, be introduced and be charming, then disappear back into my room for the rest of the night. As is still typical of plans about me made without asking me, the plan went askew. When I went out to meet him, I showed Stuart one of the drawings I did that afternoon. He was so sweet, and seemed so interested, that when I went back into my room, instead of staying in there like a good girl, I immediately came back out with another drawing to show him. He expressed an interest in that one, too. And so the rest of my mom and Stuart’s date that night consisted of me popping in and out of my room with more and more drawings. I’m sure I must have shown him twenty pictures that night.

A lot of men would have lost interest after the first time, maybe the third if he liked kids, but Stuart stayed interested and kind throughout the whole thing. (Or at least was nice enough to act like that fifteenth cartoon drawing was fascinating.) The next day, my mother chastised me for being a ham, but I didn’t care. All I cared about was that Stuart was sweet to me, and to a little girl starved for paternal attention, that was a balm.

After my mother and Stuart moved in together and eventually married, there were the normal blended family growing pains. Things weren’t always happy and became less happy over time, but I will never forget that first meeting and how kind he was to a little girl who desperately needed kindness.

Making My Own Peace

Published / by Kim
Lavender in the front garden bed.

Lavender in the front garden bed.

The world is a scary place now. Violence and hatred seem all around, and it’s easy to choose to give in to the fear and the hatred. Or, as a very dear friend so beautifully put it yesterday, you can choose love. I choose love, and I choose to make my own little part of the world as beautiful and full of love as I can. Yesterday, I spent the day with beloved friends. We walked in a garden. We chatted and shared. We ate together and laughed. We made our part of the world beautiful, for ourselves and each other.

Today, I spent time working in my garden. I planted gentian and yarrow, chamomile and lime thyme, delphiniums, rue, and wooly lamb’s ear. As I worked, I spent time leaning over the lavender. Its flowers tickled my cheeks and bees buzzed around me, unafraid. They went about their work of pollinating the lavender as I went about my work of planting new things for them to eventually discover. Even now, as I sit at my desk writing this, my arms still smell of lavender.

I smiled and waved at neighbors, who smiled and waved back. I exchanged greetings with passersby and the mail carrier. When I finished my planting, I sat on the front steps with the hose to give all the new plants a good, long drink. Little bird hopped near to see what I was doing. They decided to take an impromptu bath in the water pooling on the front walk.

For that hour-and-a-half that I worked outside, my little part of the world was perfect. It was happy and bright and in harmony. Some days that’s the best you can do, just keep your own part of the world in order.

Snow Day

Published / by Kim

It snowed this morning, about 3 inches maybe. I took one look outside when I got up and decided to deal with it later. Much later. Some of neighbors were out there shoveling while it was still snowing, breaking their backs to clear their walkways and driveways. Now it’s sunny out and warmer and the snow is melting off the trees in great big clumps of white that make it look like a Hong Kong movie scene. And my sidewalk and front walkway have practically no snow. They’re as clean as the sidewalks in front of the houses where people shoveled. Score one for laziness.

Dancing

Published / by Kim

Sometimes, when I’m lying in bed in the morning in that drowsy state somewhere between sleeping and waking, I think that I’m dancing. I leap and soar and twirl, weightless and graceful. It feels as effortless as the best ballerinas make it look. When I fully awaken and roll out of bed, I’m surprised at how earthbound I feel. It’s alright, though, because I know that my spirit is still dancing and that I’ll be able to feel it again on another morning.