Archive | The Players RSS feed for this section

Leah

2 May

I’ve written this post several times over but I struggle each time because our history is ugly. Leah and I didn’t have much of a relationship growing up. We lived in the same house and for several years, the same room. We were sisters by blood but that’s as far as the connection went for most of my life. I don’t want this post to bash my sister, that’s not why I am writing it. As an adult I have been able to look back and reflect on Leah’s early years, and gain perspective as to why she hated me (turns out she didn’t really hate me, she didn’t like herself and had a lot of inner pain). And because of my ability to remove myself from the equation and focus on understanding the bigger picture, I’ve been able to release myself of all ill feelings and resentment towards Leah.

Leah experienced feelings of rejection as a little girl. My parents separated and our dad disappeared for a while. Leah was left with feelings of abandonment and although she was only 2 when it took place, she remembers it in detail. As a 2-year-old you perceive things quite differently. Those feelings never changed as Leah grew older. And although my parents had reconciled and to this day maintain a beautiful and healthy relationship, she held on to old feelings formed in an undeveloped mind  that belonged to a little girl. Those feelings had an unhealthy effect on her relationship with our dad, as well as with myself.

Soon after my parents reconciled and started working on their relationship, I was conceived. Leah was 4 when I was born and she took to the big sister role quite well. She did however struggle with sharing the attention of our parents. For a while it had been just Leah and our mom, and she had just got her dad back when I popped out. That was difficult for her, but the real issue came around when I was able to talk and assert myself.  Around the age of 4 or 5 I no longer took orders and had my own ideas and opinions. When I was 1 my brother Bryan was born and he became my BFF. I no longer needed Leah as a playmate and it appealed to me that I didn’t have to do whatever she told me, in order to have a friend in her. I had an equal now in Bryan, and Leah soon withdrew from my life.

Another factor was age. Leah is 4 years older than me and for developing children that’s huge. We didn’t relate much. We were always in different stages, with different interests. She was into modelling and performing, I was super shy and reserved (weird right?) I liked barbies, she hated them. In fact, she liked to shave their heads and shove them under my dresser leaving the feet sticking out, so I could see them but not get them out. Leah did some cruel things and never let me forget her dislike of me. Often she would pinch me hard and not fess up when I cried, or threaten me over telling on her for anything she had done that was mean or wrong.

Honestly, I just wanted her to like me and love me. I’m not saying I never did anything mean back, or annoyed her or even provoked her. We were kids after all. And I knew we would never be best friends, but I wanted a sister. I longed for a sister I could confide in and get advice from. That never happened. I remember a time when our arguing and Leah’s cruelty had reached an all time high. Our parents were fed up and handcuffed us together in a room. They had hoped we would resolve whatever the issue was and even though I tried to talk it out, Leah wouldn’t listen. She told me that she was going to hug me and pretend like everything was good so she could get away from me. And she did, and it worked.

When I was 7 I sang a song to her that I had worked really hard on. The song was “Love Can Build a Bridge” by The Judds and I am pretty sure I cried while singing it to her. I thought that by singing, which she loved to do, we could relate to each other and try to be nice to one another. I remember Leah hugged me and said how much she loved me and liked the song. That moment stuck with me and to this day brings tears to my eyes. I let her know how badly I wanted to be close to her, I let her know of how some kids were making fun of me for being so small. I thought we could find something to relate to as she struggled with her body image as well. And briefly we did connect and it felt nice. But all that disappeared once I got sick.

My health declined rather quickly soon there after and I was in and out of doctors offices and hospitals. I began taking of a lot of my parents time and attention due to the muscle disorder and Leah needed more from them. She resented me for this. She knew it was nothing I was in control of but instead of being supportive and sympathetic she retaliated by telling me ” You’re faking” “You’re a liar” and “I hate you”. I now know that at that time Leah was dealing with he rown emotional pain and adolescent challenges. She was being bullied at school, feeling a lot of insecurities over her body, struggling to keep friends and loathing being poor. I became the target for her anger with life. Of course then I didn’t know what was taking place in her life and internalized all the mean things she would say and do. I was in physically pain, struggling with my own losses and fears and all I wanted was a loving sister. This continued into our teen years.

When I was 15 I had become even more sick. Leah had been living away from home since she was 16 (early to college then a banking career) but returned home when she lost her job after 9/11. I begrudgingly shared a room with her and tried to forget she was there, as well as the mess she left in her wake (the mess will always travel behind Leah…). It had been 3 years since spending time with Leah and she didn’t know the magnitude of what my disordered had done to my body or my life. Soon after returning home, Leah witnessed one of the scariest experiences I’ve ever had with my muscle disorder.

I got into a bath to calm the spasms that were taking over my legs. The pain was excruciating and none of the meds I had taken were working. After a bit of a soak in the bath my breathing began to grow weak. I started struggling to keep conscious and it took all the air in my lungs to cry out for help. My memory of this experiences is shadowed with intermittent consciousness, but I know my mom pulled me out of the bath and wrapped a towel around me. They brought me to the living room and laid me on the floor. I remember gasping for air but it felt like none of the oxygen was getting in. I remember opening my eyes just slightly, seeing my father over top of me, and my mom and sister at my feet. I blacked out. I stopped breathing for several minutes and my dad began rescue breaths until the paramedics showed up. I regained consciousness shortly before they arrived, but I couldn’t move. My breathing was shallow and my legs were paralyzed. This episode ended in an ambulance ride to the emergency room, blood work, medication evaluation, and an extended stay in the hospital.

Now, I wasn’t searching for sympathy but I did think that by Leah witnessing that, she would show a bit more compassion toward me and maybe believe me about my disorder. She couldn’t still think after all these years that I was faking it? Nothing changed though. Everyone in my family came by to offer their best at cheering me up but it wasn’t until a couple of days later that Leah appeared. I was happy to see her but was soon disappointed when I realized she wasn’t there for me, she was there to talk to my mom about her job and something good that had happened for her. She left without saying anything more than hello to me. I discussed with my mom how hurt I was, and she was sympathetic. I said that I thought I needed therapy because this thing with Leah hurt so badly. I don’t want to always feel like this when she comes around.

After the hospital stay I sought counseling for a number of issues and gained a lot of knowledge and perspective. After a few weeks of talking it out, I was in a better place emotionally. My counselor urged me to write a letter to Leah about my feelings towards her, specific memories that pained me, and more importantly, letting go of what I longed to have with Leah, a friendship. Leah was unsafe for me. It was the unattainable dream and only brought me pain when I would seek it. I had to let her go, in order to heal and move forward. I never gave the letter to Leah because it wasn’t actually for her. It was for me. I started over with Leah like she was someone I just met. I treated her as an acquaintance. I was cordial and never talked about anything other than surface. She was unsafe for me at that time and for my heart and well-being I had to keep her at an arm’s length. We went on for several years like this and I began to feel better in regards to Leah. I had essentially mourned the loss of a close sisterly relationship, and replaced it with something different. We still had our spats but generally, this new approach to a relationship went well. I lowered my expectations of her so I wouldn’t be let down, therefore, rarely became angry or disappointed. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s true and it’s what I had to do to be in contact with Leah.

When I was 17 a shift happened. I don’t know exactly why it did, but I do know that as things got better in Leah and our dad’s relationship, things seemed to improve within our relationship. I’m not a psychologist but I believe that as she addressed old feelings of rejection from our dad, as well as her own insecurities as a child/teen, she was able to evaluate the driving force behind the cruelty she exhibited towards me. Leah began to make changes and apologized several times. I don’t know how many times, but I think she knew she would have to say it a lot. She was determined to make sure I knew how sincere she was each time she did so too.

The more effort Leah made, the more I would open up for her. I did however remain guarded but I kept an open mind and didn’t allow any hiccups to discourage me as we rebuilt. Over time, Leah and I established a new relationship. It took a lot of effort on her part to win me over again and through the course of a couple of years (and a lot of ups and downs) we’ve arrived at a good place.

Leah,

We didn’t have a great start as being sisters. We don’t have good childhood memories together to look back on with fondness. We missed out on a lot of years together. We built walls and burned bridges.

But made ourselves a second chance and we have a lot to be proud of. We worked through difficult feelings towards each other. We learned from the mistakes we made as children, teens and young adults in regards to one another. We tore down the walls and rebuilt the bridges to make new memories. In the process of rebuilding, we formed a healthy relationship and discovered appreciation for one another. We accept each other for the unique individuals that we both are. Instead of beating each other up, we offer words of encouragement. We support one another in life and give all we can to one another without any conditions.We are who we are, and we are beautiful sisters.

If I had to choose to have you as a  loving young sister or a loving adult sister, I choose the adult sister hands down. I used to mourn not having you near when we were kids. I used to think that I missed out on this huge thing, but ya know what? You can give me a heck of a lot more support and love now, than you ever could have been capable of then. And you do Leah. I no longer look back and feel pain or sadness over our relationship, but I use it as a marker to see how far we have come.

I know our relationship is not perfect, and we’ll always have to work harder to maintain it than we do with other family members. I know we’ll always need to err on the cautious side when confronting an issue and take extra care as to not wound one another. Because although we have moved forward, we still have scars, and our relationship will always need to be nurtured.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your adult life. I am blessed to be your friend and happy to see you blossoming as you move into your 30’s. You are a wonderful mom and a great wife, you are simply outstanding! Besides being awesome moms and wives, we have few things in common. In fact, we couldn’t be more opposite but I think that makes things exciting. I am proud of you for everything you have accomplished in your life, as well as all the effort you have made to mend my heart and our relationship. I love you Leah. Thank you for being the sister I always wanted. And thanks for loving me for me.

Always,

Lace

Bryballs

29 Aug

More than a few words come to mind when I think of my younger but much bigger brother Bryballs: Funny, Compassionate, Crazy, Unpredictable, Loving, Money lover, Carefree, Loyal, Adventurous, Stubborn. All of these words describe my brother, but they only scratch the surface. He’s so awesome. Anyone who knows him on any level is blessed and better because of knowing him. But beyond all those adjectives he is so much more to me; he’s my first best friend. He’s been my best friend since the day he was born(a year after I was), and I am not exaggerating. The day he was born was the day I received a live-in best friend. Sure we’ve had times where we wanted nothing to do with each other and only drove each other nuts, but those times were rare and short-lived.

I could list off memories or favorite moments but there are far too many to do so. I’ll just say we grew up doing everything together. Learning to ride bikes, playing outside, getting in trouble, learning to swim, shared a bed-time and a bed room until I was 9, almost everything connected to my childhood experiences is linked to my brother. We even had a nickname that referred to the both of us, “The little ones”. Because we were a 2 for 1 deal, inseparable.

When I started struggling with my health, it affected Bry. To an extent he lost his play-time friend. I couldn’t easily keep up with his endless energy and when I tried, I’d pay for it. We were so young that I don’t know how Bry processed this or how it made him feel. I’d ask him but he doesn’t remember very much from his childhood, especially before age 10. That being said I’ll tell you what I do know.

Bry was about 13 when he took the job of my caregiver when both of my parents had to work. When I would be in too much pain to go to school, he would stay home and take care of me. He took on the responsibility without hesitation. He’d bring me food and make me tea, give me my medications, keep me company while watching movies or tolerating my mid-morning habit of watching Star Trek… He’d even carry me to the bathroom, set me on the toilet and stand outside listening making sure I didn’t fall off while trying to adjust all my clothes before and after “going”. He did all this without complaint, I never felt like a burden to him. Although I often felt bad I couldn’t just be a “normal” sister, whatever that is…

We were still best friends through our teen years. We shared friends, experiences and the same form of rebellion. We were thick as thieves you could say… We’d take each others secrets to the grave. Although neither of us really have them anymore as we both enjoy the freedom of being who we are and not hiding anything. Most people know his past, everyone will surely know mine soon if they don’t already…and neither of us care. We are who we are and carry no shame in that. You can take us this way, or find someone else to fit your needs…

The relationship I have with my brother is one of the most special and meaningful relationships that I have, some may say sacred. He has been a constant player in my first hand and my re-deal. He’s aided me usually without even knowing he was. Mostly with his friendship and unconditional love, but also with his strength and wit.

 

Bryballs,

There is nothing I can write to you that I haven’t told you already at some point in our lives, whether in the distant past or just last week. There is nothing I keep from you, good or bad. We have a friendship based on honesty, unconditional love, and a mutual admiration of our individual awesomeness. There is no comparison to what we share as brother and sister, or even as friends. We may live over 4,000 miles from each other but you never feel far from me, from my heart. Thank you for being you and loving me just as I am. I have been doubly blessed to have you as a player in my first hand and an ever-present player in my re-deal as well. You are growing into such an amazing young man as I always knew you would, I’m so proud of you Bryballs. I look forward to the happy day when we can bask in each others’ awesomeness…Tougher Mudder 2012! I love you.

Always,

Lace

 

Momma

22 Aug

Where to begin? So many emotions and memories flood into my mind and make it nearly impossible to define a start point for this post. I’ve been staring at my laptop for about 5 minutes now running through possible starter lines, or a clever way to ease into all that is awesome about my Momma… No luck. Whatever, I’ll just piss off the perfectionist inside me and just put it all out there void of any flow and in a non-eloquent fashion.
My mom is awesome to put it mildly. Pretty much any word synonymous with spectacular can be used to describe her. She has been a consistent player in my game of life since the day I was born. I could even go so far as to give her credit for that whole 9 months of pregnancy thing (I suppose she has something to do with my life even before I was aware I had one).

 

She was and is Wonder Woman to me. She did it all. From the standard mom jobs of cooking, cleaning up after her slob-ish family, helping with homework, running us around to friends houses, as well as the occasional 9-5 job mixed in there. But she had a much more demanding job when it came to taking care of me.
I know you’re thinking it would be such a pleasure to take care of me, I’m supertastic! And you are right, I am supertastic. But its true, it was demanding and very emotionally draining for her at times. Many late nights/early mornings she would hold me as pain consumed my body. I know she must have felt so helpless and worn down from the constant fear of losing me. But her arms around me gave me a relief that no medication could. She spent every night in an uncomfortable chair next to my hospital bed any time I was admitted. She only left my side when my dad wasn’t able to pick up my siblings or she had to pee or something I guess. She was always there (whether I thought I needed her or not), she was my voice when I hadn’t found my own, always my advocate. She’s a fighter and a do-er, she gets things done…I get that from her. She was constantly praying for me and when she wasn’t praying she was tending to my every need and I mean EVERY need. I won’t go into detail but being a caregiver, uhh…well it’s not always just fluffing pillows and massaging muscles. So much of her life has been consumed by caring for others. Rarely did she ever take time to address her own needs.
Some may say, “Well, that’s just being a good mom”. No, you’re wrong. She’s not just a good mom, she’s more than that. She is something that has yet to be named in the English language. I hope to someday discover the word that encompasses all that she truly is. But until then saying that I have the most ‘consummate mother’ on the planet will have to do.

 

To you, my dearest Momma:

You are a blessing to my life. I know what we share as Mother/Daughter is something unique and special, I wouldn’t trade it for ALL the Whoopass in the world. (You know that’s saying a lot because I’d trade several adults, animals, and countries for that delivery of Whoopass.) You are not only my mother but you are my friend. I can share anything with you and I know that you will give me the blunt-honest-truth in return. I’m glad I inherited your ability to speak the blunt-honest-truth. Although, you have found a way to put more grace into your deliverance of truth than I currently have. That leaves me something to aspire to. You and I (and unfortunate others) know I lack grace… =)
Without your consistent game-play and the sacrifices you made in your life to secure my hand, I wouldn’t have lived long enough to receive my re-deal, I truly believe that.
But Momma, I can see the residue my childhood of pain left inside your heart. It affects you still to this day and I can feel it any time I tell you about something slightly odd going on with my body. Momma, you don’t have to carry that burden anymore. God has lifted my burden out of me, now it is time for you to let him lift yours as well. Let go of the fear, heartbreak and stress my first hand left you with, that hand is over.
Come join me (sans the anxiety) in my re-deal where all I need from you is you and nothing more.

Thank you for your unconditional love, support, encouragement, prayers and friendship over the past 24 years and for all I can expect to receive until we leave this earth. I love you more than Costco apple pie and Whoopass combined plus a bunch of other stuff… Hmm, doesn’t really equal my love for you. Mom I love you so much, right up there with how much I love God. Yup, right there, captured the love amount.

Your favorite middle daughter,
Lace

P.S. You are always right. I’ll admit it.

 

 

To my reader: I still don’t feel I was able to convey how awesome my mom is. But that’s ok. People really couldn’t grasp it unless she was their mom too. And I’m not willing to sell her, or trade her as stated above and as it is I have to share her with so many other people its ridiculous! Just take my word for it, anyone would be beyond lucky to have her as a player in their game of life. Unless you are looking for a good “poker face” because hers sucks… What? It’s true! I’m not being rude, she knows it as well. You can read her face like a children’s book…

Daddy

20 Aug

Oh geez. I write the title “Daddy” and I immediately get a lump in my throat and moisture in my eyes…

My daddy is my hero. By societies standards he’s your average, middle-class, middle-aged, mildly disabled man, but he is so  much more than that to me. My daddy has been a constant example of what a good husband and a good father are, and by being such I was able to see the desirable and undesirable qualities in the men I dated. He has never shown me anything but unconditional love in my 24 years of life. He has been everything I needed whenever I needed anything. What I mean by that is he took on many roles in my life, he was a provider, friend, disciplinarian, comedian and sarcasm buddy, cheerleader (nice legs daddio), and it all wrapped up into 1 awesome package of Daddy!

I’m struggling to express my gratitude because there are no words in the English language that can encompass all that I wish to convey. I’ll do what I can with the words I know.

Thank you Daddy for being my everything. Thank you for bringing me into this world. Thank you for providing the best life you could give me. Thank you for loving me unconditionally. Thank you for lending me your strength when I was fresh out. Thank you for passing down your odd sense of humor. Thank you for all the hugs and kisses. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for holding my hand for every IV I ever had to have as a child (momma just couldn’t cut it when it came to that stuff). Thank you for all your prayers. Thank you for being an ever-present card player in my game. Thank you for always being the Daddy I needed and continue to need, and will always need. Even when you are gone from this world you’ll still be everything to me, just as much as you are now.

I’d like to share a letter with you that my daddy sent me while I was at MDA Camp. I really needed this letter when it came. My pain was reaching the level of intolerable and my anger towards God was on the rise…

July 12th, 2002 (I was 15)

Hi Squirt,

I hope this week is a great time. I am sure it will be. I also know that it will be a time  cause you great though. Believe me I understand what you are dealing with. I have struggled with the same emotions as you are struggling with now. Disabilities are not fun, they take away a lot.

I used to run like the wind. I was fast – I could run 10-20 miles on any given day. I was one of the best High School Baseball players in the country. But all that was taken away from me. A serious knee and back injury took it all away. What was normal to me, was no more. I remember wanting to play softball for our church team. I played but the pain would last several days. I would get depressed, I’m surprised your mother stuck with me. But in fact, it was your mother who kept me going. Years of pain haunted me, surgeries, therapy, none have helped to this day. Pain is a part of my life. I have a choice. I can let it ruin my life, or I can find perspective.

There was a man in the bible named Elisha. One of God’s greatest prophets, yet he suffered from an ailment that would take his life. Yet Elisha never looked at his suffering as a burden. It was his load to carry and he carried it as unto the Lord.

I think that story saved me, and put my life in perspective. I can’t change what has happened to me but I can change my outlook on it.

For Example:

I would not have met your mother, I wouldn’t have 3 of the greatest kids. Baby I wouldn’t have you, and you bring me such joy.

I pray that what you suffer from never become a burden, but realize you are among great people who through their pain have done great things.

I love you Squirt.

Dad

 

I’ve been so lucky in my life to be surrounded by players like my daddy. If the saying is true that the people in your life are a direct reflection of youself… Well I guess I am quite amazing and good looking  =)

I love you daddy and you’ll always have a teammate in me.

…and all the men and women merely players.

20 Aug

In any card game two things are required; Cards and Players. In my life of cards I have had some amazing players on my team who have aided me with their wisdom, strength, faith, support and mere presence. I have God to thank for supplying such an ample and able force to help with the hand dealt to me early on. There are a select few that played a vital role in every round that took place from “The first hand” and on. Often times these players would postpone their own game play for the sake of supporting me in my personal hand. Those sacrifices never went unnoticed, and you all deserve a giant, golden, ruby encrusted trophy filled with Whoopass! (I’m not being crude, it’s my favorite drink by Jones Soda Co. and I usually do not share it.)

To my teammates: You are my family and my friends. Your strength and love is woven into my soul and I will forever be grateful for the blessing of existing with you.

 

*If you would like to read about my outstanding teammates, please visit the Player Category*