As I have mentioned in various parts of this blog, I received an engraved ipad with a personalized case from dozens of sorority sisters and friends. After all that has gone on with our struggles, I have been fairly open about it. I joined facebook just last year because I needed a writing outlet and it was easier than verbally updating everyone. When I miscarried in June, I immediately (as I mentioned earlier) booked an appointment with a therapist. I felt it would not hurt. I had no idea what emotions would unfold after this latest failure. He had suggested I write. I have always loved to write. When my mom died, I wrote. I am seeing similar grieving patterns now that we lost our daughter as when I lost my mom. Writing previously helped me. Why not give it a try? The problem is that I am online all day for work. The last thing I want to do is fire up the 1995 computer we have when I get home. I think I could turn it on, run a marathon, and it would still be warming up when I returned home. Then, one night, I posted on my facebook page, “Dear Santa: I want an ipad and a trip to Utah this year for Christmas.” It was meant to be facetious, jovial and I never intended anyone to do anything about it (but I would not have been hating on some hints to the husband from my friends). “He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake” kind of makes you want a restraining order, yes?
One week ago today, I was, surprise, at work all day. My husband said he was taking the day off to help clean the house. So sweet. Then he sent me a text that I got a FedEx. Odd. Why would he send me a text about that? Not exactly breaking news that I had received a package. I had half a mind to tell him to open it, but then realizing I had not ordered anything, my police wife mind thought, what if it is a bomb? So, I just responded okay to his text.
I left work at 4:00 and had a long commute and a million errands to run. My friend “Mulligan” was coming in to town. If nothing else, I like to be a good hostess. I had to mail my nephew’s birthday gift (a Reds “Votto” jersey – holla!), get gas in the car, drop off a donation of old clothes, stop at Target to buy towels for the pool, go grocery shopping and stop at the liquor store to stock up on some beer (not in that order). I sent Mulligan a text asking her what kind of booze she wanted for the weekend. Yeungling Light. Noooo problem. Meanwhile, I am getting all these texts asking if I am home yet. Nope. Not yet.
At 7:30, I enter the house with about 35 bags, my purse, my keys, and my phone. My hands were full and as soon as I enter the house, my husband is waiving a box in my face. I had not even put my bags down. “What did you get from FedEx? Open it. Open it.” I was hot and exhausted and the messy house should have been my first clue that my husband clearly did not take the day off to clean the house. He seemed so anxious I thought maybe he had bought a bomb and was waiting for me to open it? I drop the bags on the floor and hunt down the kitchen scissors. I open the box and there it is. A white box with black “IPAD” staring back at me. I began to cry. I even now tear up as I write this. I turned to my husband, completely clueless and ask, “What did you do?” He responds, “I did not do anything. Call Deirdre.” “Why do you have Deirdre’s number?” My husband, “We are having an affair. Call Deirdre.” Deirdre is my very best friend in the whole wide world. I have 4-5 best friends, but she is my “go to” best friend. The cream of the crop. We were in the same pledge class in our sorority. Deirdre is the friend I talk to for hours and when I get the enormous phone bill, I pick up the phone and call her despite the large bill to tell her how expensive the bill is. My mom would always say she could tell when I was on the phone with Deirdre because all my mom would hear on my end is laughter. I call Deirdre crying and say when she answers, “What did you do?” Deirdre laughs that infectious, wonderful laugh and says something to the effect that she did not do anything. Becky and Mulligan started this a week or so ago. She said I had like forty (40) sorority sisters all waiting online on facebook for me to post something. And then she says, “Of all days for you to run a marathon of errands!”
I post a completely inadequate thank you on facebook, still not knowing who all is involved in this overwhelmingly thoughtful and moving gift. Becky then lets me in on this thread of ongoing conversations from the idea of giving me an ipad completely through to them all wondering why I was not home yet. Turns out, they contacted my husband (who had been thwarting my attempts to buy an ipad repeatedly, and now I know why) and he was home to sign for the ipad. I sat down and read all 87 pages of messages that night. I was up until 10:30 or 11:00, which is way past this early to bed, early to rise girl’s bedtime. I was and still am moved beyond words. My sorority sisters and friends, for the past week without my knowledge, were writing things about me, what I have done for them in the past, that I am amazing and inspiring, that they wanted to do something for me given all we have gone through on the fertility and adoption journey. The messages also made me laugh. At one point, as they are waiting for me to get home for the “big reveal”, Becky wrote, “How much booze is she buying you, Mulligan?” I especially liked the one digression in the messages, “Can you believe Kristen Stewart cheated on Rob?” One sister wrote something to the effect of my children are starving, waiting for dinner, as mommy sits on the computer waiting for IE’s reaction. Where is she? [Sidebar: They call me IE. My name is Kellie, with an IE. This stems from when a certain college boy, who shall remain nameless, met me and asked for my phone number in 1992. He wrote down KELLY and my number on a piece of paper. You know, the old fashioned way, before inputting people's numbers in your cell phone. I saw that and said, "No, it is Kellie with an IE." He replied, "IE? That is like spelling Susie S-O-O-Z-I-E. OK. Well, IE it is then. I will give you a call IE." For some reason, it stuck. 18 years later, I am still IE. That explains the IE on the top of my blog.]
As I sat there and read these messages, I laughed and I cried. I am and was so touched. This really, really got me. I did not think I mattered. No offense to my wonderful, charming brother Colin and my dad (I affectionately call them the two boobs – which they will now find out as I write this), but when my affectionate, kissy, complimentary mom died, I am kind of left with an occasional pat on the back from the two boobs. If I want to see them, I have to fly to see them. They don’t visit very often. They both have their own businesses and sometimes I can erroneously take this personally and feel a bit unloved since my biggest cheerleader has been in heaven for 18 years. I think even Colin will admit that Mom sort of ruled the roost when it came to affection…and keeping us in line. She proposed to my dad, just like I did to my husband (more on that later). Nothing personal toward my dad, but Colin and I are very loving, emotional, giving and affectionate people and I would strongly venture a guess that we inherited or learned that from my mom. I inherited my work ethic, humor, being a morning person and my conservative nature from my father. When I sent my dad a text about the ipad gift his response was: Can they send your father one? I prefer to think I have a nice parental balance and I received the best of both of them. My brother’s wife asked me once, “What was your mom like?” I said, “You married it.” :)
The day I received this generous gift and read all those funny and loving messages is by far one of the best days of my life. I felt loved. Loved in a way I had not actually, truly felt in a long, long time. Don’t get me wrong. I feel loved by very few people in my life, my husband being one of those very special few, but I can count the compliments on one hand that he has said to me in twelve years. What is great about that though is that I can remember every one of them and when my husband pays me a compliment, it is rare and genuine. However, we Capricorns need constant reassurance that we are loved, kind, pretty, etc. We may seem as strong as a keg of nails, but I also can be extremely sensitive and insecure. I don’t want anyone to blow smoke, but I take notice when I get a kind word or gesture. It makes my day and touches my heart in a way that is never forgotten. One friend just said to me today, “You are by far and away one of the most nice and normal persons in my entire life.” He has seen a lot of dysfunctional women in his life, so I think I just smell like a rose by default.
After reading all the messages, I was so excited. I could not wait to tell my therapist about the gift and the blog. As I sat in his office and told him this story, I again started to tear up. He said something like, “This really got you”, sort of gesturing to his heart. In a word, YES. I am a giver. I love to give others. I do. At Christmas, my joy is in making someone happy with something thoughtful. When I have a guest at my home, I want to make them feel comfortable and loved. I like to do random acts of kindness because it makes ME feel good. It makes me think that my mom would be proud of me for going out of my way to do something thoughtful or kind for someone, even if it is a tiny gesture and especially if it is a stranger. It makes me think about when my mom said, “I should have had 10 of you.” I choose to think she did not mean 10 girls or 10 children. She meant 10 of me. 10 Kellie’s. 10 IE’s. At one point during hell week in my sorority, I was tired and I said to my mom, “I think I may want to quit the sorority.” I will never forget her two word, angry response…BIG MISTAKE.
My therapist then said to me, and I won’t be able to articulate this as well as he did, that sometimes the gift is in receiving. Since I am a giver, imagine what it would be like if all those people I want to help or have helped said no thank you. That would sort of rob me of the joy of giving. In receiving those messages and the ipad, I gave a whole boatload of important people in my life a moment to feel really, really good about what they did. What they did for me was unbelievable. They gave me love when I needed it most. And for that, my friends and sisters, I can honestly say 1,000 thank you’s. I have a fortune cookie message taped to my desk that has been with me for years. It reads, “Your good deeds will never be forgotten.” Know I feel that about each and every one of you. My mom was right. It would have been a BIG MISTAKE.
Thanks for reading. IE over and out. Socks ;).