Monday, March 14, 2011

A Missing Fridge and A Hard Time

So, the time change is killing me (even though I'm glad I can still write "time" in that sentence.)  I'm a morning person, but still struggling over here.   

Thank God I have some coffee and my chai creamer to get me through.

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On a side note: Have you tried chai creamer?  If you haven't, you need to; it's like a chai latte with a zip in it.  Heaven or Lewis' Turkish Delight--in a cup!

Anyway, I just woke up from the wost dream I've ever had.  It's quite interesting though.  I always thought I knew what my greatest fears were; turns out I was wrong.  My dream was pretty much a massacre, something that would happen to a family amidst a war or horrid circumstance.  I always hoped I'd be strong if something like that happened, but the fact was that in my dream I wasn't.  The thought of losing those that I love, could kill me.

I think I know why I had the dream.  I've been praying a lot for a close friend who's going through a hard time and while thinking about her situation, it's reminded me of some of the things Cade and I have gone through.

When Zeke was born, Cade got laid off.  We literally had no money and our son was dying in the NICU.  I was so numb at that point it didn't seem like anything really mattered.  My dad got diagnosed with colon cancer; his company went under; my son died; my husband and I got separated.  It was the worst time in my life, yet we found the strength to get through somehow.

I remember one time I had no money to make our house payment, so I sold the fridge. 

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Cade came to watch The Scribe (our only daughter at the time) and I'll never forget his face.  "What in the Hell happened to the fridge?"

"I sold it."

"Okay.  Why?"

"Because I have no money.  I'm working my butt off and it's still not enough.  I refuse to lose this house."  I was pretty snippy.  Since we were separated I felt like Cade didn't care about us anymore.

"If you need help, all you have to do is ask."

"I'd rather die."  I really meant it.  I'd rather live off peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches, Top Ramen and plain rice, than ask anyone for help--especially him.  I guess I was young and everyone had told me not to get married so early.  The fact was, I didn't want anyone saying I'd been wrong.  No one would rip me of my twenty-year-old pride.

It sounds stupid now, but at the time it made all the sense in the world.  We could make tons of things without the fridge.  We could drink water and we'd be fine.  Oatmeal was nice and cheap.  Plus, what was the loss of a fridge when I'd already lost my son and my dad was fighting cancer!

I knew it wouldn't be permanent, just until I got my next paychecks.  I was working two jobs: one as a mechanic/parts specialist and one as a waitress.

Anyway, it was tough though.  I grew to hate oatmeal and Ramen, even though The Scribe loved them more than life.  But the thing that broke my heart happened after Cade watched The Scribe.  My little girl and I sat on the floor and giggled about the day.  We always tried to imagine how things would be different in the future.  We'd picture ourselves in a castle filled with millions of fridges.  Sausage and pastries; warm blankets and extravagant furniture would line the halls.  As we talked about one such imagining, we noticed an envelope sitting on the counter.

I peeked inside and realized money filled it.  I dropped it at first, wondering if it was real.  So many bills rested inside, I had to sit and count them over and over.  Cade had given us his entire check.  I had no idea what he was living off of, but the fact remained that we weren't together and still he'd given me everything.

I cried as I went to the pantry because it meant so much to me.  As I thought about Cade, I didn't care that our pantry only held oatmeal, Ramen and rice.  But I'd been wrong.  The pantry was overflowing with amazing foods like stuffing, Bear Creek soups, spaghettios and pasta.  I still remember the laughter that filled my eyes.  Cade's parents had bought us enough food to last for months.  We would be okay!

The thing that really topped it off for me though was when my parents showed up with a fridge.  They'd found it on sale from a nice older guy.  They'd spent over one-hundred dollars on it.  Here they were, my Dad fighting cancer, dealing with a company that had just gone under and still they'd bought us a fridge.  I couldn't believe how self sacrificing everyone had been!

That night my daughter and I sat around the fridge.  We ate sausage--REAL SAUSAGE--the kind that needs to be refrigerated.  I thanked God for everything.  Yeah, my Dad was still sick and I had lost my son.  Cade and I weren't together and I had a gaping hole in my heart, but the fact remained that I had hope.

We downed that sausage like it was fairy food we'd never forget.  The Scribe and I talked and giggled; ate and grinned.  We had more fun sitting next to that used fridge.  The hum of it was magical and all the money in the world couldn't have harnessed our joy. 

"You know what?" I asked her.

"What, Mama?"

"I have everything I need.  I have an amazing daughter, awesome family and friends, a God who still loves me . . . and a fridge that's perfect."

I laughed as I watched her smiling back at me.  Her cheeks pooched with sausage.  I hugged her after that.  We leaned against that fridge and held each other for a long time.

"You know what, Mama?" The Scribe asked.

"What, honey?"

"I think some oatmeal would go great with this sausage."

I nearly died of laughter.  That's a moment I'll never forget.