~:: Once Upon a Time ::~

I don’t believe in fairy tales.  I think I did once, but only a little.  I did believe in Santa Claus.  Or else, I believed that there was a “should” to finding surprises and delights left in your living room to be found on Christmas morning.  And I believed that there was something in the universe that demanded there be candy-filled eggs for children to find at least on Easter Saturday.  The thing I find tripping up my heart these days is that I still believe in Narrative. As though the universe had dictated our western narrative form and as a result, human-conceived stories are somehow a natural reflection of true order.

There would be a prince.  And everything would be swell.

With my mind, I could see the absolute fallacy of the assumption. Look at the world.  But the idea had lodged deep inside my heart and my mind had no chance of getting a word in edgewise.  Somewhere, deep down inside, intelligence had lost the battle.  And that is what sets a woman to waiting.

I think that the”swell” part of the idea had a lot to do with suddenly stripping away all my self-doubt, self-loathing, native feeling of inadequacy, selfishness and ineptitude – oh, and reluctance to go out of my way to do something I didn’t want to do for someone I didn’t necessarily adore.  That being loved would expose me to myself as a shining prize – it would finally make me acceptable, lovely, chosen, adored for good and intelligent reasons.  I would, in other words, suddenly realize that I had been, maybe all along, a Real Boy.  And I would finally believe it. And really, wouldn’t that be swell?

I will tell you now what I really believe in – now that I have lived well over half the time we spend here on this planet.  I believe in work.  You pick up your life in your hands, and you quietly go about shaping it.  I guess I am saying that joy does not fall like manna; it is made, formed, created by hand.  It’s the same with the self.  And it’s the same with partnership.

I think I don’t believe in waiting, either. I think the work has to start long before the point where the result is badly needed.  And if you get tired, and you put the project down, it – like the food in the fridge that looked like such a great idea when you bought it, but somehow never quite inspired you to actually cook it – the project will begin to wizen and shrink.

Joy is a balloon.  One filled with breath.  It won’t stay in the air by itself.  It must be constantly tossed up.  And that’s where the laughing comes in.  During the tossing. 


This was a spring over thirty years ago. It was like this one – not convincingly spring-like, but striped with chill wind and sharp with cold.


We were warm, standing together.  Standing on the steps of a solid house of God.  My mother knew who I was then.


So many years later, and another cold spring, there is a life here that I wouldn’t trade for anything.  It’s not spectacular or rich or famous. But it is beautiful.  It was put together piece by piece. Sacrificed for on all sides.  I think of it as a gift given, but I am wrong about that. Rather, it’s the result of someone picking up a million tiny gifts and sticking them together into something bigger, something good.  And if I see it that way, then I think that the life, what is good about it, is actually a gift I have to make and give back.

And that is enough.

Now – toss me that balloon.

This entry was posted in A little history, Family, Journeys, Just life, Memories and Ruminations and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to ~:: Once Upon a Time ::~

  1. Rachel says:

    I love these photos. The look on your face. The way Guy braces you as you lean into him. And the way you hold your hands still today, folded in front of you. There is much of that beautiful bride I see today made even more beautiful over the years by the millions of gifts that you are that makes up an amazing package! You! Happy Anniversary you two. It is your anniversary yes?? :D If not, it was or shall be!

  2. Sharon Shinn says:

    So if life is the ultimate handicraft, no wonder yours has been so lovely. What a sweet post.

  3. Dawn says:

    These are beautiful photos and I know that what you are saying is true. Working at making a good life and appreciating the small gifts along the way, that together, make up something wonderful. Happy Anniversary.

  4. Donna says:

    How you smiled! And you still smile. . . The work, the piecing, the sacrificing have all been worth it…the package is worth opening and marveling at again and again, day after day….for all the lucky ones who know this gift of YOU.
    There is fairy tale there….but not Cinderella. She is too often a wimpy thing who waits to be saved. You are fairy tale like Brave…wild hair and all!
    Love to you both…and may you continue to live happily ever after in the end….

  5. Patti says:

    Love these beautiful pictures! I love taking trips back in time and reminiscing on those special days in life! Happy Anniversary! I always wanted the fairy tale, but I am blessed with an ordinary man who is a wonderful father, papa, and partner! I would be lost without him after 32 years! Love and hugs from MO

    • Patti says:

      Too much on my mind these days. The post didn’t not say what I meant say! Anyway, I hope all is well.

    • K says:

      I haven’t been doing a thing for the past three months except work on the book I’m doing of Mom’s life, and the genealogy you’ve been helping me with. So I’m behind in my own posting, and in answering posts. Which, I think, is rude – not to answer in good time, people who love you. And I thought your comment spoke worlds, so I don’t know what else I’d want from those words. Ordinary men and women live, in their ordinariness, extraordinary lives. Two people who stay together in mutual respect, creating a world between them – that is an extraordinary thing, and would be, even if every couple of people could succeed at it, and still have happiness, hope, excitement and joy. So – it was a beautiful comment.

  6. Laura says:

    Absolutely wonderful piece of writing. Miss you, you darling muse. hugs.

  7. Marilyn says:

    Oh, you are beautiful. I see Ginna in you. What a happy day, and so many happy days after. Hooray for you both! I love what you wrote.

  8. Kathy V says:

    Funny how we start with Happily Ever After in mind, probably wonder if it will happen in the middle, and somehow find it at the end.
    Very lovely.

    • K says:

      But then, neither of us are sure of the end, yet – right? But yeah – we choose a beginning, hoping it foreshadows the end we want. What we don’t realize is that we’re actually living in a pinball machine, only we’re balls with will. You get a little beat up along the way, and you have to think on your feet – in the end, we have to keep choosing the end at every change of direction. I wonder if there’s a mathematical model for that?

  9. Matt says:

    Beautiful post. Once upon a time and happily ever after, two restless and interchangeable points on a line extending to infinity.

  10. wsw says:

    There would be a prince. And a princess. And children. And ever so much work to make it all work. And our hearts would swell with the slow wonder of it all. And we would know that work and responsibility are freedom.

    And you are so beautiful. So beautiful.

    • K says:

      Darling W – It’s been almost two weeks since you posted this. I have so much to write about, and this dang tendency to hyper-focus just sweeps me through the days so swiftly, I don’t even feel them across my face as they flow. And what you wrote was beautiful.

      • wsw says:

        I know what you mean about the hyper-focusing and the warping of time. Boy, do I ever know what you mean.

  11. You yourself are one of the tiny gifts in my package. I am so awed by your talent, your voice.. Thank you for writing and inviting us to share in your life. You’re a gift.

    Blessings, Debbie

    • K says:

      Debbie – I am falling all over myself to apologize for not having come to your place for so long. I’m doing a book of my mother’s life, and all day long, slaving over a hot keyboard, trying to sift through the raw material and put it into some kind of understandable story line – photo restoring, scanning, decision making. Then, suddenly, the day is over and I’m shot, and it’s almost like I’ve been in some kind of suspended animation. I love YOUR voice, too, remember. And you are always a great gift to me.

      • I’m praying that all goes well with your new book. Selfishly. I miss you. :)


        • K says:

          Debbie – I miss you, too. I’m trying to get in here and answer all the comments. And I want to get to your place. I need to see what you’ve been writing. I am openly and wholeheartedly delighted every time I see your name.

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