Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Best Compliments

My second cousin always says, "You get the best compliments."

Today is no exception. 

On the average of twice a week I walk up the road to the local joint to pick up a salad. For years my friend Nate, behind the counter, hooks me up with the salad. He always says, "My Boo ain't gonna go hungry."

I walk up the road today and he tells me, "Somebody ordered your salad. They asked for me so I jus knew it was you. I gave you my phone number on your salad box last week. Said for you to text me. It wasn't you that texted back - it was somebody said, 'This isn't who you think it is." I tried to be slick and get you to talk to me but it wasn't you." 

He leans forward, "Can I have your number?" 

But before he got 'number' out of his mouth he knocked over an entire display on the check-out counter.

"Mane, you make me so nervous talking to you I knocked everything over."

I am beyond flattered. It's funny, I still see myself as that ugly, pig-nosed, super-awkward girl from middle school and the girl I was in high school who never once got asked on a date. But the truth is I've got Brothers out here tripping over themselves trying to work up the courage to ask for my phone number. That beats the hell outta the self-esteem of the teenage girl I used to be who always thought she was repulsive to the opposite sex. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

If I Only Had A Heart

Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz is who I wanted to be when I grew up. She went on a fabulous, colorful, once in a lifetime adventure in the process gaining friends, all while wearing the most spectacular sparkle shoes. Plus, Dorothy had all of the characteristics of intelligence, courage, and love that her new found friends were so desperately searching for. Her courage, love, and resourcefulness only exceeded on the adventure with her new friends. During her quest to return to the dreary Kansas prairie she learned she had everything she already wanted and needed at home.  

I have always thought of myself as a Dorothy-type character. We are both from Kansas, love making new friends, and we both love our vibrant, sparkle shoes that lead us home.  

For all of the years I dated his father I lived with the belief that this boy hated me. He regularly voiced his anger towards me being in their life.

It wasn't until I had been removed from the house for many months that I realized how much I am truly loved and love them. Fortunately my relationships with the children has survived, mended, and gotten stronger. The honest, heartfelt emotions that were once difficult to say in the past have become easy.

Last night Nick had an Emergency Room trip when the bathroom mirror detached from the wall and fell on him. A completely random freak accident that slit open his forearm and knee, requiring stitches. 

Today, I stopped by to check on him. With a simple gesture, Nick said more to me than he's ever done in the years that I've known him. He ran back to his bedroom and came back with a small lapel pin in the shape of a heart and marked with the gold Boy Scout insignia. 

In Boy Scouts when a young man earns a higher rank they customarily honor their mother or the most influential woman in their life by pinning her with a Mother Pin. I knew the small, red heart he brought back from his bedroom is the Mother Pin for the Life Scout rank. 

"That's great, Nick! I'm so proud of you!" I said to him. I am still just as proud as I was on May 18th when I sat in the audience at the ceremony to see him earn the rank of Life Scout. I hold the Mother Pin out to return it to him. 

Like a Jedi performing a mind trick, he waves his hand at me to signify that he has given the pin to me. 

"Are you sure?"

He waves his hand at me again and bows his head. 

"Really, Nick?" 

He bows again and pushes his right hand up towards me, palm side facing towards the ceiling. 

My eyes well up with tears and I can't keep them from bubbling over the edge. I'm smiling, laughing, and crying all at the same time, "I'm crying because I'm so happy." 

For the first time in four years he permits me to hug him and in the biggest twist of events, stitches and all, he returns my hug. 

His action means more than he knows. I don't know what I have done to deserve this, but today without the pomp and circumstance of the Boy Scout ceremony Nick presented me with this pin.
 That moment holds all of the importance of the ceremony, but it means more to me because Nick made this decision on his own, in his own time, sharing with me his respect and affection.  

Today, I learned that I am not Dorothy at all. For all of these years I've been the Tin Man. I've had a heart all along but, as The Wizard of Oz explains, "A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others." 
Today, my heart is full.