Just got home from checking on the booth. Before going in, I asked my kiddo how we’d feel if we sold nothing. He replied that we’d feel great! Indeed!
The doilies, potholders, hankies, and books seemed to fit right in. They sure give it a warm ‘pull up a chair and we’ll drink tea while visiting’ feeling. Sort of rooted, in a way. Not quite how sitting at a grandma’s kitchen table feels, but down home.
I thought I’d show you how it’s coming together.
P.S. We’ve had the booth one week and a piece of my art made it into the world!! How exciting! I’m so grateful!
When my kiddo went to kindergarten, I missed him sooooo much that I had to have something to do. His school had a very wonderful nurse who needed help with the Free Store.
The Free Store was a place where people could drop off clothes donations. It was set up as a place where the kids at school were provided clothing, if they needed it and for local families if they needed items for foster children or really fast placements.
When I started volunteering there, the place was a mess. Eventually, I got it all sorted and cleaned out and up. Although it wasn’t a real store, it resembled one.
On certain days, volunteers brought kids who needed clothing over and they got to shop. You guys, they were so excited! Everything we had was used, but they didn’t care. Another volunteer and I had the clothes all sized and on hangers, so they could go right to their sizes.
One time the principal at one of the school buildings told me that some of those kids were SO happy that they got to go shopping! Kind of like we do when we go to the mall or a new clothing store.
Then, I found out that some of the kids had-never-been to a store with clothes in it. Not even to Walmart. My heart cracked into a million pieces.
So, what did I do?
I made them their own store, in their school building.
I took real round clothing racks in, size tags, shelves, hangers, and more. I set it up as a beach shop. I made a huge mural on the wall with brown paper, fish cut outs, and nets. With chalk, they could draw on it.
On the door, I made a sign, like they’d see at a real shop. Our “store” wasn’t for all kids, it was for kids who needed a little help or didn’t have any clothes or had never been shopping.
It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been apart of in my life.
Back at our other building, I had a list of kids ages, and when clothes were donated, I’d go through them and make clothes piles for the kids. That was really fun to pick out in-style clothes for them.
One day, someone donated a pair of little red tennis shoes. The old fashioned kind. Soooooo cute. I kept one to remind me why I volunteered to help those kids and I gave the other one to my friend.
I’d forgotten all about the school stuff until the other day. While I was looking for vintage potholders from eBay to put in my new booth, I saw the cutest thing!!!
How cool is that?! I had to have it!
Love when something suddenly brings back memories that warm the heart.
Today I’ve been thinking about kindness. Sure, the world catches holy heck for all the negativity, but I still have faith in all the glorious goodness out there.
For instance, today one of my friends asked for food to help some families out and let me tell you, people stepped up!!!
Even with groceries being incredibly high priced, many asked what was needed. I looked in our cupboards and will be making my donation tomorrow.
On a bit of a different note, I was also thinking about all the kindnesses extended to me during this weird year since I lost my momma. Initially, it was the cards, flowers, showing up, meals, etc.
But since then, my blogging friends have stepped up. Writing about loss is not easy and writing about parent loss is jaw-dropping hard. You all have been super supportive in offering your insights and support.
Another sort of kindness was given to me today that on the surface may not seem as profound as feeding someone who’s hungry or helping someone through loss, but I believe it’s monumental just the same.
You know I’ve been struggling with my bowling and I almost quit. It’s supposed to be fun, but it was stacking up to be annoying and frustrating…
In bowling and just in general, it seems like we can get a lot of advice about what we are doing wrong and sometimes it’s hard to feel good enough right where we are.
I am in touch with this. I get the last place score A LOT.
I’d seen online that there are bowling coaches. Like, that’s a thing. At a bowling alley about an hour and a half from here, I asked about coaching, then I went there today.
The beauty and the best part of the whole bowling coach experience was, I was being met where I am. The tips weren’t ‘change this, this, and this.’ In fact, it wasn’t any ‘change this.’
It was about adding to, not taking away. I love that on about a billion levels.
No one asks anyone to change in order to feed them and fill their fridges. No one asked me to change in order to support me in my momma loss. And, I didn’t have to take apart and put back together my bowling steps, throw, or swing.
These situations are not the same, of course, but the feeling of being able to stay authentic in any of them is pretty huge.
I’m standing in my dining room, looking out the window. It’s night and the way the kitchen light is angled, I can see things on the counter, even with my back to the kitchen. The cookie jar, bananas, apples, and chicken art are visible from here.
This afternoon, the front porch rails, bannisters, and I became friends. Some green muck tends to grow on them, creating layers of crusty looking junk. It may be caused by summer’s humidity, I suppose. Well, after walking by them for about the billionth time, I went inside and got a sponge.
An hour later, I had done some good work. My friend tells me that her gramma had a saying about work, that hard work is good work.
It sure is.
My other bit of good, hard work came from me moving a big, wooden bookcase from the garage to the dining room. It took up residence in the garage after we unloaded it from the moving truck four years ago. For whatever reason, it stayed there.
But, suddenly, in April, I wanted it in here! My momma passed away out of the blue on the last Sunday in March. I wanted it in here so I could see it every day and fill it with all the things she’s given me and my collectibles through the years.
That was seven months ago and never got moved inside…
My momma was a “get things done-er.” My dad worked a lot of hours supporting a family of six, so if she wanted/needed things done, She did it. If she didn’t know how, she learned.
Like my dad, my husband works a lot of hours supporting our family of three. I could’ve waited until he got home, but I thought I could do it myself.
I didn’t quite know how to get the bookcase in the house, so I just started. With a little ingenuity and some luck, that beautiful treasure holder is now in my dining room.
I spent the evening unpacking glassware, vases, Depression glass, leaves and acorns my boy gave me when he was five, and gifts from my momma.
They’ve been packed up in tubs for four years, too.
This morning we are off on some yard sale adventures. Today, there’s a highway 136 yard sale across a part of Nebraska called the Trail of Treasures. My parent’s house is near the starting town, so we may go.
I rarely write two posts in one day, but this is itching to come out.
Last night at bowling, it went great. My stance was solid. My gutter balls improved. My scored increased. And not once, did I feel like crying.
It just felt better all the way around. Am I pro? Heck no. Does that matter? Absolutely not.
I wrote a post this morning about finding my way. What I realized all the sudden, is that we all are, finding our way.
For a week, I’ve been practicing my bowling stance and steps in hopes that I would somehow skip ‘beginning bowler’ and just be a ‘great bowler.’
That’s fine. But, I see now that there’s a place for the beginner and in the middle-r, too. Same with grief. Some may be in the beginning, some, like me, may be in the middle.
The cool thing about that? There’s room for everyone, wherever we are.
I realized something else. If I was somehow an instantly awesome bowler in one week’s time, I would really miss out on some really amazing stuff.
We are bowling at a new to us bowling alley and don’t know anyone. Everyone there is really good at bowling. I am essentially the rookie. I get last place every week.
But, you know what? Almost everyone in that place has offered me kind words and bowling advice. Heck, last night, someone even brought some bowling shoes from home and gave them to me.
I’m learning. They’re teaching. And that rookie thing? It’s just an ice breaker. If I walked into a new place and was an excellent bowler, there’d probably still be stuff to talk about, but people like to help people, you know?
Same here, on this blog. I write about loss, you extend your hands.
For weeks, I’ve been standing in an imaginary knee deep scenario, stuck. My knees aren’t really stuck, but my writing is.
My post about the fair was preceded the exact same morning with three hours of writing. The post I was working on contained the subjects of “I don’t know how to this!!! I don’t know how to write about loss one day and normal stuff the next.”
Those words did not flow out easily. I yanked and pulled and made them come out. They were about:
what it’s like to talk about loss and crying and missing someone, then not knowing how to change the subject
what it feels like to be stuck in not knowing how to be a carefree type of writer that now feels strapped to loss one minute then wanting to share about travel the next
about being a good writer like my great grandma, while at the same time, not knowing how to carry forward in this blog and feeling a bit vulnerable because I’ve shared a lot and don’t know how to continue writing
I did not hit ‘publish’ on that post. Instead, I hit the backspace button and erased every single word. Immediately afterwards, I wrote the post about the fair and sent it off into the world.
Why did I back the other post out?
It just didn’t feel right.
I couldn’t get the words to match what I wanted to say.
Bottom line: I’m trying to find my way in my writing. I am finding my way through loss. I just need to find my way somehow in both.
Thank you for reading. You’ve been so great in offering support during all this. I appreciate it so very, very much.
Last week, I was gliding along pretty well, then, bam. Crying. Not crying, actually, but bawling was more like it. It was Tuesday and I was getting ready to fold laundry. I thought a song playing would be nice. So, I tried to think of one.
A song that my momma loved popped into my head. A minute passed and the tears gushed. They didn’t stop for 45 minutes.
On a Tuesday. In the laundry room.
That night, we had our 2nd bowling league night. My game was off. I couldn’t get my balance. My steps wobbled. My ball hugged the gutters. My score stayed low. My eyes fought tears.
In a bowling alley. With 40 other bowlers.
Grief does that. It interrupts steps. It unbalances the balanced. It shows up in a thought or dream. It cascades down on a quiet afternoon, in the middle of chores. It unleashes emotions that were once settled, into tears that are real and raw.
In August, I wrote a post called ‘A Half a Year Today.’ It was about my momma being gone a half a year already. A couple of days ago, when I re-added up on my fingers, I realized I was a month off! August wasn’t half a year ago, September is…
Time in parent loss is a bit like my wobbly bowling steps: all over the place. No wonder I couldn’t believe it had been 6 months, it had only been 5.
So far, it’s only Tuesday, this week is more light hearted. It’s smoother. Last week there were lotsssss of tears and missing her.
This week there’s still lots of missing her, but way less tears. That alone, feels like a more even distribution on the ‘getting through grief’ invisible scale.
What I’m learning is, bowling is all about balance and grief, for me anyway, has a sense of balance, too.
Missing someone starts to blend right into the every days. Missing someone, plus crocodile tears? That interferes with the rhythm.
Tonight, we bowl. My feet feel more solid already, whew!
Thank you for reading. I hope you have a wonderful day.